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Monitoring Residual Spatial Patterns using Bayesian Hierarchical Spatial Modelling for Exploring Unknown Risk Factors

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This article studies Bayesian hierarchical spatial modelling that monitors the changes of residual spatial pattern (structure) of the outcome variable for exploring unknown risk factors in small‐area analysis. Spatially structured random effects (SRE) and unstructured random effects (URE) terms added to the conventional logistic regression model take into account overdispersion and residual spatial structure, which if unaccounted for could cause incorrect identification of risk factors. Mapping and/or calculating the ratio of random effects that are spatially‐structured monitor the extent of residual spatial structure. The monitoring provides insights into identification of unknown covariates that have similar spatial structures to those of SRE. Adding such covariates to the model has the potential to diminish the residual spatial structure, until possibly all or most of the spatial structure can be explained. Risk factors identified are the added covariates that have statistically significant regression coefficients. We apply the methods to the analysis of domestic burglaries in Cambridgeshire, England. Small‐area analysis of crime where data often display apparent spatial structure would particularly benefit from the methodologies. We discuss the methodologies, their relevancy in our analysis of domestic burglaries, their limitations, and possible paths for future research.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Planning, University of Waterloo, Ontario 2: Department of Geography, University of Cambridge

Publication date: August 1, 2011

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