Background:

I've been working on fitting an HLM model that explores the spatial relationships between crime and socio-economic factors such as deprivation scores and education indicators. The Intraclass Correlation Coefficient demonstrates a 12% attribution of variances to group factors, which I guess is relatively low(?) but then this IS a highly complex system.. But the model's evolution (using lmer in R) has seen a steady improvement of AIC scores, so I will probably present tentative results about its value.

Question:

I am now a little confused about how to demonstrate the model's effectiveness against other non-HLM techniques such as simple OLS regression. Is this purely by standard errors / residuals, or am I missing something important?! Mixed-models / HLM do not return correlations.

Thanks in advance!