Neighborhood disorder and juvenile drug arrests: a preliminary investigation using the NIfETy instrument

Am J Drug Alcohol Abuse. 2012 Nov;38(6):598-602. doi: 10.3109/00952990.2012.701357. Epub 2012 Jul 11.


Background: Disordered neighborhood environments are associated with crime, drug use, and poor health outcomes. However, research utilizing objective instruments to characterize the neighborhood environment is lacking.

Objectives: This investigation examines the relationship between objective measures of neighborhood disorder and juvenile drug arrests (JDAs) in an urban locale.

Methods: The neighborhood disorder scale was developed using indicators from the Neighborhood Inventory for Environmental Typology (NIfETy) instrument; a valid and reliable tool that assesses physical and social disorder. Data on 3146 JDAs from 2006 were obtained from the police department.

Results: Negative binomial regression models revealed a significant association between neighborhood disorder and the count of JDAs in the neighborhood (β == .34, p < .001). The relationship between neighborhood disorder and JDAs remained significant after adjusting for percent African-Americans in the neighborhood (β == .24, p < .001).

Conclusions: This preliminary investigation identified a positive and statistically significant relationship between an objective measure of neighborhood disorder and JDAs. Future investigations should examine strategies to reduce drug-related crime by addressing the larger neighborhood and social context in which drug involvement and crime occurs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • African Americans / statistics & numerical data
  • Baltimore
  • Crime / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Regression Analysis
  • Residence Characteristics*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Urban Population / statistics & numerical data*