Crime rates are not uniformly distributed in the United States, and the overall rate of all crime is still high. For Atlanta, there has been a decrease in the frequency of crime, but homicide, burglary, and assault show an upward trend. The study needs to determine what factors contribute to the increased prevalence of these crime categories in Atlanta and how this is reflected in nationwide trends.
- H1. The increase in burglaries is likely due to prior restrictions in the COVID-19 pandemic, as they have imposed many financial hardships on the population (Lopez & Rosenfeld, 2021).
- H2. The policy of carrying and using guns is believed to be an aggravating factor in the increase in homicides and armed assaults (Concealed carry in Georgia, 2022).
- H3. The increase in various categories of crime in Atlanta may be related to insufficient U.S. policies regarding street gangs and contraband control (Schell et al., 2020).
Variables are a set of factors or acts that relate observed phenomena to their root causes. For H1, the independent variable would be the economic level of the population, and the dependent variable would be the number of poverty-induced thefts (Meyer et al., 2022). This is justified by the fact that financial hardship creates preconditions of varying magnitude and duration on criminal behavior (Lopez & Rosenfeld, 2021). For H2, the independent variable would be the current U.S. carry policy (as it is an existing influencing factor), and the dependent variable would be the behavior of gun owners (Morrall, 2018). For H3, the independent variable would be police actions to confront street gangs and control contraband (the policy is currently unchanged), and the dependent variable would be the number of crimes.
Conceptual definitions are abstract descriptions of variables to denote items. For H1, the economic level can be measured by household income and expenditures, budget funds, theft definitions, reports, and protocols. For H2, policies will be determined by analyzing documentation and the behavior of individuals by police data (Evans et al., 2021). For H3, police actions will be determined by reports and state regulatory packages; for the number of crimes, collected statistics.
Operational measures are the process of transforming definitions into measurable categories. For H1, the economic level will be measured by calculating net income and the number of thefts based on projected statistics. For H2, policy quality will be measured using a developed scale based on post-implementation effects and behavior based on the categorization of response types (Evans et al., 2021). For H3, police action will be measured using a positive effects measure, and crime rates will be measured using statistical methods.
The unit of analysis for the study will be individuals who commit crimes in Atlanta, which will be observed by measuring the frequency of offenses based on the designated variables (Schell et al., 2020). Data will be collected through a literature analysis of the past five years. In addition, police reports and protocols will be used, as well as open access statistics on the frequency and nature of crimes.
Internal validity is the degree to which the researcher is confident that the tested relationship is not false or unsubstantiated. A threat to it is regression to the mean, that is, simplification of the variables being measured. In addition, there are dangers in the measurement tool used and the researcher’s personal biases. External validity is the ability to apply the relationship found to other similar cases. Threats to it are systematic sampling error: poor policy choices and falsely interpreted delinquent behavior.
Three main hypotheses can be established as part of the study of crime growth in Atlanta. H1 is related to financial hardship and increased theft; H2 is based on gun policies and homicide rates, and H3 is related to national-level street gang control. All variables can be measured by analyzing statistics, official police reports, and individually constructed effects measurement scales. Existing threats to the validity and relevance of the study may be related to the choice of incorrect measurement instruments and the reduction of the mean.
Concealed carry in Georgia. (2022). Giffords Law Center. Web.
Evans, D. P., Hawk, S. R., & Ripkey, C. E. (2021). Domestic violence in Atlanta, Georgia before and during COVID-19. Violence and Gender, 8(3), 140–147.
Lopez, E., & Rosenfeld, R. (2021). Crime, quarantine, and the U.S. coronavirus pandemic. Criminology & Public Policy, 20(3), 401–422.
Meyer, M., Hassafy, A., Lewis, G., Shrestha, P., Haviland, A. M., & Nagin, D. S. (2022) Changes in crime rates during the COVID-19 pandemic. Statistics and Public Policy, 9(1), 97-109.
Morrall A. (2018). The science of gun policy: A critical synthesis of research evidence on the effects of gun policies in the United States. Rand Health Quarterly, 8(1), 5. Web.
Schell, T. L., Cefalu, M., Griffin, B. A., Smart, R., & Morral, A. R. (2020). Changes in firearm mortality following the implementation of state laws regulating firearm access and use. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 117(26), 14906–14910.