A Geographic Exploratory Analysis of Health and Crime in Toronto Neighbourhoods
Crime impacts may pose a health risk to victims and result in potential demands on healthcare services. However, the impacts from crime on health are complex and diverse. It is difficult to measure and quantify such impacts, since conventional police-recorded crime statistics do not collect data on people’s perception of the risk of crime and the impacts of victimization on health and wellbeing. This manuscript-style thesis consists of two parts. The first study assesses crime and wellbeing at the individual level, conducting a questionnaire survey in four selected neighbourhoods in Toronto. The purpose of this study is to explore how crime affects people’s health and quality of life. The impacts of crime on both physical and psychological health and wellbeing are explored. Findings from this study may potentially contribute to developing effective strategies for crime reduction and prevention. Results from the questionnaire survey suggest a significant impact of crime on mental health, both short-term and long-term, which may have a significant effect on an individual’s quality of life. Hence, availability and accessibility of mental health services for Victim Support is important to consider from a health policy and services perspective. The second study in this manuscript-style thesis evaluates the risk of poor mental health in Toronto and assesses spatial accessibility to mental healthcare services. Two accessibility measures were applied, namely, the gravity model and the two-step catchment area method. The spatial patterns of accessibility to mental healthcare by these two measures were compared, along with variation in accessibility ratios. A risk map of poor mental health was developed by applying a multi-criteria evaluation methodology, while considering crime rates and deprivation. Areas with high risk of poor mental health and low accessibility to mental healthcare were identified after comparing the risk and accessibility maps. This study contributes to identifying inequities in accessibility to mental healthcare in Toronto, as well as promoting services that can help improve public mental health. Overall, this thesis explores the health of victims of crime based on a conceptual social model that highlights the links between crime, deprivation and health. Findings indicate that residents’ mental health and psychological wellbeing are significantly affected by crime in selected Toronto neighbourhoods, but existing mental healthcare facilities are not sufficient to serve residents with varying mental healthcare needs, especially those living in Downtown areas.