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J Sex Res. 2006 May;43(2):182-93; discussion 194-201.

Peep show establishments, police activity, public place, and time: a study of secondary effects in San Diego, California.

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Department of Communication and Law and Society Program, University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA.


An empirical study was undertaken in San Diego, California, to test assumptions made by the government and by conservative religious policy advocates that there is a greater incidence of crime in the vicinity of peep show establishments. We asked two questions: (a) Is criminal activity in San Diego particularly acute at peep show establishments compared to surrounding control locations? and (b) Is criminal activity in San Diego disproportionately greater at or near peep show establishments between the hours of 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. compared to other times of the day? The levels of crime activity and the expenditure of police resources were examined by measuring the number of calls-for-service (CFSs) to the police within a 1,000-ft. area on either side of the peep show establishments and comparably-sized control areas beyond the immediate 1,000-foot area. A more focused late-night (2 a.m. to 6 a.m.) analysis was also undertaken. The results showed no reliable evidence of differences in crime levels between the control and test areas, nor was there any evidence of disproportionately greater amounts of crime within the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. time period in the areas surrounding the peep show establishments. We concluded that San Diego does not have a problem with crime at the peep show establishments generally, nor is there a heightened problem with crime during the 2 a.m. to 6 a.m. period. We discuss the implications of assuming that peep show establishments are associated with negative effects in the community and the possibility of viewpoint discrimination against sex communication.

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