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Review 1 of "'I know a guy': Examining homeless income generation and spatial mobility"


Published onJan 12, 2022
Review 1 of "'I know a guy': Examining homeless income generation and spatial mobility"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of

Vote: Publish pending minor changes

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Persons living in SROs and shelters are also noted as sometimes having affected mobility as a direct result of their housing situation (Nair, 2016; Rankin, 2015; Rollinson, 1990). Suggestion: Clarify the meaning of this sentence: I don’t quite understand it.

Regarding the discussion of public vs. private space, it might be helpful to elaborate by considering quasi-public and quasi-private spaces as well. For example, a fee-based campground (such as in a state or national park) is quasi-public. People there perform a variety of functions they would ordinarily do in the privacy of their home, but which they are choosing to do in public and in a context that is widely deemed normal and acceptable. In a parallel manner, some cities are establishing approved homeless campgrounds where some activities will be permitted in full view of others, and some not. A quasi-private space might be an SRO hotel room in which there is some expectation of privacy for the occupant, but not a full expectation: it might be subject to no-notice inspections. Another might be a homeless shelter that provides some partitions to offer a bit of privacy, but not full privacy.

And although a substantial literature also exists regarding geographical parameters of crime (e.g., Ackerman & Rossmo, 2015; Andresen et al., 2014), including activities some homeless may engage in – e.g., the purchase or sale of drugs (Johnson, Taylor & Ratcliffe, 2013) and shoplifting (Levine & Lee, 2013) -- these studies commonly exclude homeless persons for methodological reasons (e.g., Ackerman & Rossmo, 2015).

I didn’t really understand from this passage in what way homeless persons are excluded from studies that involve geographic dimensions of crime problems. I suggest elaborating on this assertion.

Regarding understanding the connections between mobility/travel and income-generating activities of homeless persons, crime-pattern theory (Brantingham & Brantingham, 1993) might be explicitly invoked. I noted that Brantingham & Brantingham, 1995 is cited late in the paper, but this citation is missing from the References.

An additional factor to consider is the cost and convenience of mass transportation for homeless persons. For example, one of the features of the light-rail system in the city in which I live is that it is an “open-platform” system. Although every rider is required to have a ticket or pass to ride, this is enforced only through random checks on the trains by security officers. The usual “penalty” for being caught without a ticket is to be kicked off the train at the next stop, where one can just get on the next train. Also, the bus service includes one no-fare route that ostensibly connects the university/downtown with the state government, in between those two destinations are most of the city’s services for the homeless. Consequently, the bus is used principally by homeless persons. Although the features of both of these systems were unlikely to have designed with the homeless in mind, they nonetheless provide significant transportation options for the homeless that do not exist in other cities.


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