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

Adam J. Milam, C. Debra M. Furr-Holden, Paul T. Harrell, Damiya E. Whitaker, Philip J. Leaf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-602
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2012


  • Adolescents
  • Crime
  • Drug arrests
  • Neighborhood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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