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Neighborhoods and Violent Crime

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Summer 2016   


Neighborhoods and Violent Crime


      • Rates of violent crime in the United States have declined significantly over the past two decades, but disparities persist.
      • Exposure to violent crime damages the health and development of victims, family members, and entire communities. Low-income people and racial and ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected.
      • Violent crime is geographically concentrated in particular neighborhoods and in more localized areas known as hot spots; evidence suggests that problem-oriented policing of hot spots can be effective.
      • Strong social organization, youth job opportunities, immigration, and residential stability are among several neighborhood characteristics associated with lower crime rates.

A line graph showing rates of violent crime and murder and nonnegligent manslaughter in the United States from 1995 to 2014.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Crime in the United States by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants, 1995–2014” ( Accessed 7 August 2016.

Violent crime wreaks a terrible impact not only on individual victims, their families, and friends but also on nearby residents and the fabric of their neighborhoods.1 Exposure to violent crime can damage people’s health and development,2 and violence can push communities into vicious circles of decay. Rates of violent crime in the United States have declined significantly over the past 20 years. Disadvantaged neighborhoods have experienced larger drops in crime, although significant disparities persist.

Violent crime also has a uniquely powerful role in defining neighborhoods. A study of neighborhoods in 22 cities indicates that levels of violent crime in a neighborhood, particularly robbery and aggravated assault, strongly predict residents’ perceptions of crime, whereas property crime has little effect.3 An array of studies also suggest that violent crime reduces neighborhood property values more than property crime does.4 Perceptions also differ among groups. Residents with children and longer-term residents, for instance, consistently perceive greater levels of crime and disorder than do their neighbors.5 Decisions on where to move often reflect concerns about safety. People with housing choice vouchers, for example, consistently rate a safer neighborhood as their top priority.6

Variations in levels of violent crime are linked to complex characteristics of neighborhoods, including disadvantage, segregation, land use, social control, social capital, and social trust, as well as the characteristics of nearby neighborhoods. Identifying the root causes of violent crime can also point to promising strategies to reduce its incidence and impact.

The Extent of Violent Crime

There are three major national sources of crime data in the United States: the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports, which reports data on crime counts, crime rates, and arrests; the National Crime Victimization Survey, which tracks self-reported victimizations of crime; and the National Vital Statistics System, which has data on deaths, including homicides.7 At the national level, these sources indicate a massive decline in violent crime — generally defined to include murder, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — over the past 20 years.8 According to the Uniform Crime Reports, the violent crime rate dropped by nearly half between 1995 and 2014, from 684.5 violent crimes per 100,000 inhabitants to 365.5 (fig. 1).9 The homicide rate also dropped by nearly half over the same period, from 8.2 per 100,000 inhabitants to 4.5.10 And according to the National Crime Victimization Survey, by 2014, the violent victimization rate — that is, the rate at which people are victims of violent crime — dropped to 20.1 per 1,000 persons, only about a quarter of 1993’s rate of 79.8.11 Compared to other wealthy nations, modern rates of violent crime in the United States are not exceptional, though homicide rates remain “probably the highest in the Western world.”12 In particular, gun violence is far more common in the U.S. than in other Western nations.13

A bar graph showing the rate of violent victimization, except murders, by victim demographic in the United States for 2014.
Source: Jennifer L. Truman and Lynn Langton. 2015. “Criminal Victimization, 2014,” Bureau of Justice Statistics.

No consensus exists on a single cause for the massive American decline in crime. In 2015, the Brennan Center for Justice reviewed evidence on theories to explain the decline, finding that such factors as an aging population, consumer confidence, decreased alcohol consumption, income growth, increased rates of incarceration, and increased policing all likely contributed.14 With regard to increased incarceration, the National Academy of Sciences’ 2012 report concluded that although higher incarceration rates may have caused a decline in crime, “the magnitude of the reduction is highly uncertain and the results of most studies suggest it was unlikely to be have been large,” and, moreover, that high incarceration rates had significant social costs, particularly for minority communities.15

At the same time, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be victims of violent crimes — especially serious violent crimes — than are whites, although the gap has narrowed over the past 10 years (fig. 2).16 African Americans are disproportionately victims of homicide compared with whites or Hispanics (fig. 3).17 Similarly, low-income people are much more likely than others to experience crime, including violent crime.18

Although evidence indicates that neighborhood characteristics contribute to these disparities, none of the major national sources of crime data provide comprehensive information at the neighborhood level. Researchers usually define neighborhoods according to census tracts, which include from 1,200 to 8,000 people and are drawn to reflect visible community boundaries.19 The absence of annual, national neighborhood-level data frustrates efforts to compare violent crime trends across and within communities.

One particularly expansive national source for neighborhood-level crime data is the National Neighborhood Crime Study (NNCS), which collects street crime data reported to police for the year 2000 from 9,593 nationally representative neighborhoods in 91 large cities.20 Considering NNCS data, Peterson and Krivo found striking racial inequality across neighborhoods in the average rates of violent crime: predominantly African-American neighborhoods (those that consist of more than 70% African-American residents) averaged five times as many violent crimes as predominantly white communities; predominantly Latino neighborhoods averaged about two and a half times as many violent crimes as predominantly white neighborhoods. These differences in crime rates are linked to structural disparities: segregated neighborhoods also tend to be disadvantaged and lack access to community resources, institutions, and means of social control such as effective policing as well as social trust.21 A followup study is underway to add data from 2010 and analyze trends.22

Disadvantaged, segregated communities have experienced a large portion of the national decline in violent crime but remain disproportionally affected by high violent crime rates. In 2015, Friedson and Sharkey considered neighborhood-level violent crime in six cities — Chicago; Cleveland; Denver; Philadelphia; Seattle; and St. Petersburg, Florida — over the past decade or longer.23 In each of these cities, the absolute rate of violent crime in the most violent neighborhoods dropped dramatically: in Cleveland, for instance, the absolute difference in violent crime between the most violent fifth of neighborhoods and all the rest declined by 65 percent. Similarly, poor neighborhoods, majority African-American, and majority Hispanic neighborhoods narrowed the gap between them and other neighborhoods. But although overall violent crime rates have declined substantially, the distribution of violent crime remains about the same: the communities that were initially the most violent generally remained the most violent. In all six cities, the most violent fifth of neighborhoods still experienced more violent crime than the second most violent fifth of neighborhoods experienced before the decline.

Similarly, Lens et al. found that in seven large American cities, housing choice voucher holders’ exposure to neighborhood crime declined substantially from 1998 to 2008. This decline happened not because voucher holders moved to areas with lower crime rates but because their neighborhoods’ crime rates improved more than those of other neighborhoods (although these neighborhoods still lagged behind on absolute levels of crime).24

Within neighborhoods, research has indicated that violent crime occurs in a small number of “hot spots.”25 These hot spots are “micro places” — either street intersections or segments (two block faces on both sides of a street between two intersections).26 One study reviewed Boston police records from 1980 through 2008 and found that fewer than 3 percent of micro places accounted for more than half of all gun violence incidents.27 When gun violence increases, these hot spots account for most of the increase, and the same occurs when gun violence declines. Hot spots’ presence is linked to both opportunity — for instance, the presence of more bus stops, a busy street, or the lack of street lighting — and social controls on crime.28 Both informal social controls, such as collective efficacy, and formal social controls, such as the presence of law enforcement, could prevent hot spots.29 Evidence suggests that policing aimed at hot spots — particularly problem-oriented policing that focuses on specific problems such as gun seizures and engages the community as a partner — can be more effective and does not just displace crime.30

Much violent crime may also occur within narrow social networks.31 In general, a disproportionate number of murder victims and offenders are young,32 and about four-fifths of victims33 and three-fifths of offenders34 are male. Also, many studies have observed “victim-offender overlap,” meaning that the victims and offenders of violent crime are often members of the same social network, and neighborhood context such as street culture might influence this phenomenon.35 One study found that in Boston, about 85 percent of gunshot injuries occur within a single network of people representing less than 6 percent of the city’s total population.36 Drawing on an array of research on networks, Papachristos argues that “gun violence is transmitted through particular types of risky behaviors (such as engaging in criminal activities) and is related to the ways in which particularly pathogens (e.g. guns) move through networks.”37 As Sampson notes, networks can enable prosocial activities as well as gangs and crime.38

Neighborhood Characteristics and Violent Crime

Neighborhoods’ incidence of violent crime is related to an array of intertwined characteristics, including poverty, segregation, and inequality; collective efficacy, disorder, trust, and institutions; job access; immigration; residential instability, foreclosures, vacancy rates, and evictions; land use and the built environment; neighborhood change; and location of housing assistance. These characteristics can be both the cause and result of violent crime.39 Neighborhoods change dynamically: violence can influence people to leave, which leads to an increase in segregation and violence.40 Moreover, neighborhoods are affected not only by their own internal characteristics but also by those of nearby neighborhoods. After controlling for neighborhoods’ own internal characteristics, rates of violence in Chicago neighborhoods are significantly and positively linked to those of surrounding neighborhoods.41

Poverty, Segregation, and Inequality.
Neighborhoods with more concentrated disadvantage tend to experience higher levels of violent crime. Numerous studies, for instance, show that neighborhoods with higher poverty rates tend to have higher rates of violent crime.42 Greater overall income inequality within a neighborhood is associated with higher rates of crime, especially violent crime.43 Sampson notes that even though the city of Stockholm has far less violence, segregation, and inequality than the city of Chicago, in both cities a disproportionate number of homicides occur in a very small number of very disadvantaged neighborhoods.44

Racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods also tend to have higher rates of violent crime. Peterson and Krivo”s analysis of nationwide neighborhood crime data for the year 2000 demonstrates, however, that violent crime rates in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods differ little from predominantly white neighborhoods after controlling for segregation and disadvantage. In particular, spatial disadvantage — that is, adverse characteristics such as poverty or crime among nearby neighborhoods — appears to drive disparities in local crime rates between these neighborhoods.45 As Pattillo-McCoy writes, crime from disadvantaged areas in Chicago often spills over into middle-class, predominantly African-American neighborhoods.46 Moreover, the effects of citywide segregation extend beyond majority-minority neighborhoods: neighborhoods nationwide, regardless of their racial composition, tend to experience higher rates of violent crime when they are located in cities with higher levels of segregation.47

Poverty, segregation, and inequality are related to neighborhoods’ access to resources and ability to solve problems, including problems that foster crime.48 These resources include access to institutions, particularly effective community policing and the swift prosecution of violent crime. In 2015”s Ghettoside, Leovy explores how underpolicing of violent crime spurred high homicide rates in segregated South Central Los Angeles neighborhoods as an alternate “ghettoside” law emerged.49 This alternate law involves witnesses scared to testify, the formation of gangs for protection, and cascades of disputes and violent crime among interwoven communities.50 As Massey writes, “In a niche of violence, respect can only be built and maintained through the strategic use of force.”51 Evidence suggests that a greater propensity for arguments to escalate to lethal violence, combined with easier access to firearms, contributes to higher rates of homicide in the United States.52 As Leovy points out, the absence of law has fostered violent crime in communities throughout history.53

A bar graph showing reported murder victims by race in the United States in 2014.
Source: Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Murder Victims by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2014” ( Accessed 7 August 2016.

In many communities of color, troubled relationships with law enforcement — linked to aggressive tactics and the disproportionate prosecution of drug crimes — hinder efforts to address violent crime.54 Concentrated disadvantage, crime, and imprisonment appear to interact in a continually destabilizing feedback loop.55 In disadvantaged, segregated neighborhoods, residents may also be more likely to be detached from social institutions and disregard the law,56 hampering crime enforcement and prevention.57 Evidence suggests that community policing can improve communities’ relationships with law enforcement and contribute to strategies such as hot-spot policing that seem to reduce violent crime.58

Collective Efficacy, Disorder, Trust, and Institutions. Collective efficacy, defined as social cohesion among neighbors and their willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good, appears to be an important determinant of violent crime in neighborhoods.59 Social cohesion measures ask, for instance, whether residents believe people in their neighborhood can be trusted.60 Across neighborhoods in Chicago and cities worldwide, Sampson and others have found that collective efficacy and violent crime are interrelated: violence can reduce collective efficacy, and collective efficacy can prevent future violent crime.61

Collective efficacy can affect youths’ “street efficacy,” their perceived ability to avoid violent confrontations and find ways to be safe in their own neighborhood, in turn influencing their likelihood to turn to violence. After controlling for individual and family factors, Sharkey found that Chicago youth who live in neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage and low collective efficacy have lower street efficacy, and those with higher street efficacy are less likely to resort to violence or associate with delinquent peers. As Sharkey writes, in communities with lower collective efficacy where “residents retreat from public life and treat the presence of violence with resignation, adolescents may feel that attempts to avoid violence are futile, and that they are on their own in their attempts to do so.”62

Collective efficacy is linked to disorder, such as garbage in the streets or broken windows.63 Sampson notes that people’s perceptions of disorder in their neighborhood are likely related to collective senses of social meaning and inequality.64 “Broken windows” policing, aimed at reducing perceived disorder to prevent crime, is one of the most influential philosophies in policing. Rigorous research suggests that disorder, however, might ultimately be a product of root causes such as the concentration of disadvantage and low collective efficacy, which also lead to crime.65 Disorder can trigger reactions that further increase disadvantage and crime — for example, by encouraging people to move and stigmatizing a neighborhood.66 In fact, strong evidence indicates that shared perceptions of past disorder (that is, what people thought about a neighborhood years ago) are a better predictor of homicides in neighborhoods than are present levels of physical disorder.67

One study of violent crime in Chicago neighborhoods during the 1990s found that legal cynicism — when people view the law as “illegitimate, unresponsive, and ill equipped to ensure public safety” — explained why homicide persisted in some communities despite citywide declines in poverty and violence.68 Kirk and Papachristos suggest that legal cynicism is linked to two related influences: neighborhood structural conditions and police practices and interaction with neighborhood residents.69 Strong social organization, however, can reduce violent crime. Sampson found that Chicago neighborhoods with more connected leadership, as demonstrated by social ties between leaders, tend to have much lower homicide rates even controlling for factors such as concentrated disadvantage.70

View of a vacant house with a foreclosure sign in the front yard.
In some circumstances, vacant and foreclosed properties are associated with increased neighborhood crime rates.

Job Access. Job access can help explain variations in crime types across urban neighborhoods. One study of Atlanta in the early 1990s examined job opportunity for youth in neighborhoods, including whether jobs were geographically accessible, whether youth would be qualified to hold them, and the level of competition for those jobs. This study found that poor job opportunity was closely linked with neighborhood-level crime, although more closely to property crime than violent crime.71

Immigration. Numerous studies show that immigration is strongly associated with lower rates of violent crime.72 One rigorous study of neighborhoods in Los Angeles in the mid-2000s, for instance, found that greater concentrations of immigrants in a neighborhood are related to significant drops in crime.73 Similarly, Sampson, in analyzing data on Chicago neighborhoods, found that, after controlling for other factors, concentrated immigration is directly associated with lower rates of violence.74 One reason for this finding might be that people who immigrate have characteristics that make them less likely to commit crimes — for example, motivation to work and ambition.75 Leovy, considering Los Angeles, notes, “Despite their relative poverty, recent immigrants tend to have lower homicide rates than resident Hispanics and their descendants born in the United States. This is because homicide flares among people who are trapped and economically interdependent, not among people who are highly mobile.”76

Residential Instability, Foreclosures, Vacancy Rates, and Evictions. Residential instability — that is, more frequent moves among a neighborhood’s residents — appears in some circumstances to be related to increases in violent crime.77 Research shows that residential instability might affect violence at least in part by, for instance, reducing community efficacy.78 Violent crime and residential instability appear to be interrelated: one study considering Los Angeles neighborhoods in the mid-1990s estimated that the effect of violent crime on instability was twice as strong as that of instability on crime.79

Multiple studies have found that foreclosures increase violent crime on nearby blocks.80 One study notes that because foreclosures appear to pull crimes indoors, where offenders are less likely to be caught, crimes resulting from foreclosures and subsequent vacant units could be underreported.81 On the other hand, foreclosures might just reshuffle crime at the local level.82

Vacancies and evictions can also lead to violent crime by destabilizing communities and creating venues for crime. A study of Pittsburgh found that violent crime increased by 19 percent within 250 feet of a newly vacant foreclosed home and that the crime rate increased the longer the property remained vacant.83 In 2016’s Evicted, Desmond notes that Milwaukee neighborhoods in the mid-2000s with high eviction rates had higher violent crime rates the following year after controlling for factors including past crime rates.84 Desmond suggests that eviction affects crime by frustrating the relationship among neighbors and preventing the development of community efficacy that could prevent violence.85

Land Use and the Built Environment. In The Death and Life of Great American Cities, Jane Jacobs proposes several elements that could make neighborhoods safe, such as a clear demarcation between public and private space; “eyes on the street,” such as nearby shops; and fairly continuous use.86 Some empirical research, however, suggests that mixed-use areas, which combine commercial and residential properties, have lower rates of crime than do commercial-only areas, perhaps by reducing crimes of opportunity.87 Other land use strategies might also reduce violent crime. A study of a natural experiment in Youngstown, Ohio, which cleaned up vacant lots and funded efforts to improve them, found that community improvement of lots reduced violent crime nearby (see “Housing, Inclusion, and Public Safety”).88

Neighborhood Change. Changes in neighborhood demographics, such as gentrification, can affect violent crime rates. Kirk and Laub suggest that gentrification can cause an initial increase in crime because neighborhood change causes destabilization, although in the long run gentrification leads to a decline in crime as neighborhood cohesion increases.89 Neighborhoods’ spatial location can also affect crime rates. Boggess and Hipp found that in Los Angeles in the 1990s, neighborhoods at the “frontier” of gentrification had many more aggravated assaults than did those located near other neighborhoods also experiencing gentrification.90 Evidence also indicates that the general decline in crime may have contributed to gentrification, as higher-income families feel more comfortable moving into the city.91

A row of single-family homes.
Replacing distressed public housing with new mixed-income housing through the HOPE VI program decreased violent crime rates in certain neighborhoods.

Location of Housing Assistance. Rigorous research to date demonstrates that violent crime generally does not increase in neighborhoods when households with housing vouchers move in. In 2008, an article in The Atlantic suggested that in Nashville, Tennessee, significant neighborhood-level increases in violent crime were linked to voucher holders’ moves.92 Ellen et al. analyzed neighborhood-level crime in 10 large American cities from 1995 to 2008, however, and found little evidence that households with housing choice vouchers caused crime to increase where they moved. Instead, they found strong evidence indicating that voucher holders tend to move into neighborhoods where crime is already increasing, perhaps seeking more affordable rents.93 Some other studies suggest that associations between increases of voucher holders and increases in crime could be limited to disadvantaged neighborhoods or neighborhoods where households receiving housing assistance are concentrated.94 Mast and Wilson considered this question in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, from 2000 to 2009, finding that increases in voucher holders were associated with crime increases only in neighborhoods that exceed relatively high thresholds for poverty or concentration of voucher holders.95

Public housing demolition also appears to have affected neighborhood violent crime rates. From the end of the 1990s through the mid-2000s, public housing developments across the nation were demolished through the HOPE VI program, forcing thousands of families to relocate with housing vouchers.96 Looking at crime rates in Atlanta and Chicago, Popkin et al. found that in Atlanta and Chicago, crime rates plummeted in the neighborhoods where public housing had been demolished alongside net decreases citywide; in Chicago, they estimated that the decrease in violent crime in those areas was more than 60 percent greater than it would have been without HOPE VI. Many of these public housing developments were severely distressed with high rates of violent crime, and HOPE VI’s combination of demolition and new mixed-income housing appears to have reduced crime in these neighborhoods.97 Moreover, most neighborhoods also absorbed households with relocation vouchers without any effect on crime rates. The neighborhoods that saw significant increases in crime with the addition of voucher holders were those that already had high rates of poverty and crime.98

The Costs of Violent Crime in Neighborhoods

Violent crime has numerous, lasting effects on neighborhood residents that extend beyond its direct impact on victims and their families and friends. One of the most significant findings from the Moving to Opportunity experiment, which enabled low-income families to move to low-poverty neighborhoods, was the effect on movers’ health. Movers ended up in much safer neighborhoods, and parents and adolescent girls experienced significant improvements in health, including lower rates of obesity, linked to reductions in stress.99 In dangerous areas, people may avoid going outside, and a strong relationship exists between perceived neighborhood safety and obesity rates.100

In general, exposure to violence puts youth at significant risk for psychological, social, academic, and physical challenges and also makes them more likely to commit violence themselves.101 Exposure to gun violence can desensitize children, increasing the likelihood that they act violently in the future.102 One study found that children exposed to an incident of violent crime scored much lower on exams a week later.103 Another study focusing on Chicago in the 2000s considered children’s exposure to neighborhood violence over time, finding that, after controlling for differences between students, children living in more violent neighborhoods fall farther behind their peers in school as they grow older and that this effect is similar in size to that of socioeconomic disadvantage.104 At a larger level, Chetty and Hendren find that children who live in neighborhoods with higher crime rates for 20 years experience significant reductions in income as adults.105

Neighborhoods of concentrated poverty and disadvantage can also create coercive sexual environments in which sexual harassment, molestation, exploitation, and violence against women and girls become accepted. These environments, which disproportionately affect adolescents of color, negatively affect children’s sexual development and can lead to long-term psychological stress and substance abuse.106

Strategies From the Evidence

The evidence on neighborhoods and violent crime suggests several strategies for improving safety and neighborhood health. Investing in communities caught in cycles of crime, decay, and disinvestment can help reduce crime rates.107 Research on social ties and institutions suggests that strong community organizations and leadership can make a difference. Investments that increase inclusion and support education, skills, and access to jobs may be necessary to address the concentrated disadvantage at the root of violent crime in neighborhoods. Housing programs may avoid reconcentrating poverty in disadvantaged areas and crossing thresholds linked to increases in violent crime. In general, policies that reduce economic, racial, and ethnic segregation can increase communities’ access to key resources to prevent violent crime and promote healthy development. In addition, more comprehensive national data on crime at the neighborhood level can help us better understand trends.

Promising programs could also prevent violent crime by helping youth and others avoid violence. The Becoming a Man program in Chicago, for example, adopts cognitive behavioral therapy to help young men slow down their thinking and consider whether their automatic thoughts fit the situation. New rigorous experimental evidence suggests that the program can reduce violent crime arrests by 45 to 50 percent and improve graduation rates by 12 to 19 percent.108

To a large extent, changes in violent crime are linked to broader social progress and economic gains. Today, as Friedson and Sharkey point out, the recent decline of violent crime offers opportunities for “a virtuous cycle of declining crime and disorder, reinvestment, and greater integration of disadvantaged neighborhoods into the urban social fabric.”109 Taking advantage of these possibilities could reduce disparities and save more people, families, and neighborhoods from the impact of violent crime.

— Chase Sackett, Former HUD Staff

  1. Patrick Sharkey and Robert J. Sampson. 2015. “Violence, Cognition, and Neighborhood Inequality in America,” in Social Neuroscience: Brain, Mind, and Society, Russell Schutt, Matcheri S. Keshavan, and Larry J. Seidman, eds. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
  2. E.g., David J. Hardin. 2009. “Collateral Consequences of Violence in Disadvantaged Neighborhoods,” Social Forces 88:2, 757–84.
  3. John R. Hipp. 2010. “Assessing Crime as a Problem: The Relationship between Residents’ Perception of Crime and Official Crime Rates over 25 Years,” Crime & Delinquency 59:4, 616–48.
  4. E.g., John R. Hipp, George E. Tita, and Robert T. Greenbaum. 2009. “Drive-bys and Trade-ups: Examining the Directionality of the Crime and Residential Instability Relationship,” Social Forces 84:4, 1777–812. For a summary of research on this topic, see David Kirk and John Laub. 2010. “Neighborhood Change and Crime in the Modern Metropolis, Crime and Justice: A Review of Research 39, 441–502.
  5. John R. Hipp. 2010. “Resident perceptions of crime: How much is ‘bias’ and how much is micro-neighborhood effect?” Criminology 48:2, 475–508.
  6. See, e.g., Lenore Healy and Michael Lepley. 2016. “Housing Voucher Mobility in Cuyahoga County,” Housing Research and Advocacy Center.
  7. The University of Chicago Crime Lab. “Data on Crime Patterns” ( Accessed 19 July 2016.
  8. See Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Crime in the United States by Volume and Rate per 100,000 Inhabitants, 1995-2014” ( Accessed 15 August 2016.
  9. Ibid.
  10. Ibid.
  11. Jennifer L. Truman and Lynn Langton. 2015. “Criminal Victimization, 2014,” Bureau of Justice Statistics.
  12. James P. Lynch and William Alex Pridemore. 2011. "Crime in International Perspective," in Crime and Public Policy, James Q. Wilson and Joan Petersilia, eds. New York: Oxford University Press, 1–52, 24.
  13. Kevin Quealy and Margot Sanger-Katz. 2016. “Compare These Gun Death Rates: The U.S. Is in a Different World,” New York Times, June 13.
  14. Oliver Roeder, Lauren-Brooke Eisen, and Julia Bowling. 2015. “What Caused the Crime Decline?” Brennan Center for Justice.
  15. National Academy of Sciences. 2012. The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences, Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 4.
  16. Truman and Langton, 9. Serious violent crime in the NCVS includes rape or sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault.
  17. Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Murder Victims by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2014” ( Accessed 15 August 2016
  18. Melissa S. Kearney, Benjamin H. Harris, Elisa Jacome, and Lucie Parker. 2014. “Ten Economic Facts about Crime and Incarceration in the United States,” The Brookings Institution.
  19. See U.S. Census Bureau. “How the Census Bureau Measures Poverty” ( Accessed 16 August 2016.
  20. Ruth D. Peterson and Lauren J. Krivo. 2010. Divergent Social Worlds: Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial Divide, New York: Russell Sage Foundation.
  21. Ibid.
  22. National Science Foundation. “Collaborative Research: Crime and Community in a Changing Society, the National Neighborhood Crime Study 2” ( Accessed 26 July 2016.
  23. Michael Friedson and Patrick Sharkey. 2015. “Violence and Neighborhood Disadvantage  after the Crime Decline,” The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 660:1, 341–58.
  24. Michael C. Lens, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Katherine O’Regan. 2011. “Neighborhood Crime Exposure Among Housing Choice Voucher Households,” U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  25. Anthony A. Braga, Andrew V. Papachristos, and David M. Hureau. 2009. “The Concentration and Stability of Gun Violence at Micro Places in Boston, 19802008,” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 26:1, 33–53.
  26. Ibid.
  27. Ibid.
  28. David Weisburd, Elizabeth R. Groff, and Sue-Ming Yang. 2013. “Understanding and Controlling Hot Spots of Crime: The Importance of Formal and Informal Social Controls,” Prevention Science 15:1, 31–43.
  29. Ibid.
  30. Anthony A. Braga, Andrew V. Papachristos, and David M. Hureau. 2014. “The Effects of Hot Spots Policing on Crime: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Justice Quarterly 31:4, 633–63.
  31. Andrew V. Papachristos. 2014. “The Network Structure of Crime,” Sociology Compass 8:4, 347–57.
  32. Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Murder Victims by Age, Sex, Race, and Ethnicity, 2014” ( Accessed 15 August 2016.
  33. Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Murder Offenders by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2014” ( Accessed 15 August 2016.
  34. Federal Bureau of Investigation. “Murder Victims by Race, Ethnicity, and Sex, 2014.”
  35. Mark T. Berg, Eric A. Stewart, Christopher J. Shreck, and Ronald L. Simons. 2012. “The Victim-Offender Overlap in Context: Examining the Role of Neighborhood Street Culture.”
  36. Andrew V. Papachristos, Anthony A. Braga, and David M. Hureau. 2012. “Social Networks and the Risk of Gunshot Injury,” Journal of Urban Health 89:6, 992–1003. Cited in Papachristos.
  37. Ibid., 354.
  38. Sampson 2012. See also Christopher R. Browning, Seth L. Feinberg, and Robert D. Dietz. 2004. “The Paradox of Social Organization: Networks, Collective Efficacy, and Violent Crime in Urban Neighborhoods,” Social Forces 83:2, 503–34.
  39. John R. Hipp. 2010. “A Dynamic View of Neighborhoods: The Reciprocal Relationship between Crime and Neighborhood Structural Characteristics,” Social Problems 57:2, 205–30.
  40. Jeffrey D. Morenoff and Robert J. Sampson. 1997. “Violent Crime and The Spatial Dynamics of Neighborhood Transition: Chicago, 1970-1990,” Social Forces 76:1, 31–64.
  41. Sampson 2012.
  42. Ibid.
  43. John R. Hipp. 2007. “Income Inequality, Race, and Place: Does the Distribution of Race and Class within Neighborhoods Affect Crime Rates?” Criminology 45:3, 665–97.
  44. Sampson 2012.
  45. Peterson and Krivo.
  46. Mary Patillo. 2013. Black Picket Fences: Privilege and Peril Among the Black Middle Class, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Cited in Peterson and Krivo.
  47. Danielle  Corinne Kuhl, Lauren J. Krivo, and Ruth D. Peterson. 2009. “Segregation, Racial Structure, and Neighborhood Violent Crime,”  American Journal of Sociology 114:6, 1765–802.
  48. Ibid.
  49. Jill Leovy. 2015. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, New York: Spiegel & Grau.
  50. Leovy.
  51. Douglas S. Massey. 1995. “Getting  Away with Murder: Segregation and Violent Crime in Urban America,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 143:5, 1203–32, 1221.
  52. See Franklin E. Zimring and Gordon Hawkins. 1997. Crime Is Not the Problem: Lethal Violence in America, New York: Oxford  University Press.
  53. Leovy.
  54. See Randall Kennedy. 1998. Race, Crime, and the Law, New York: Random House; Leovy; Michelle Alexander. 2010. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, New York: New Press.
  55. Robert J. Sampson and Charles Loeffler. 2010. “Punishment’s Place: The Local Concentration of Mass Incarceration,” Daedalus 139:3, 20–31.
  56. See Kuhl, Krivo, and Peterson.
  57. See, e.g., David S. Kirk. 2008. “The Neighborhood Context of Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Arrest,” Demography 45:1, 55–77.
  58. Anthony A. Braga. 2015. “Better Policing Can Improve Legitimacy and Reduce Mass Incarceration,” Harvard Law Review Forum 129, 233–41.
  59. Robert J. Sampson, Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Felton Earls. 1997. “Neighborhoods and Violent Crime: A Multilevel Study of Collective Efficacy,” Science 277, 918–24.
  60. Sampson 2012.
  61. Ibid.
  62. Patrick T. Sharkey. 2006. “Navigating Dangerous Streets: The Sources and Consequences of Street Efficacy,” American Sociological Review 71, 826–46, 830.
  63. Sampson 2012.
  64. Ibid.
  65. Ibid.
  66. Ibid.
  67. Ibid.
  68. David S. Kirk and Andrew V. Papachristos. 2011. “Cultural Mechanisms and the Persistence of Neigh- borhood Violence,” American Journal of Sociology 166:4, 1190–233, 1190.
  69. Ibid., 1190–233.
  70. Sampson 2012.
  71. Keith R. Ihlanfeldt. 2006. “Neighborhood Crime and Young Males’ Job Opportunity,” The Journal of Law & Economics 49:1, 249–83.
  72. See Matthew T. Lee and Ramiro Martinez  Jr. 2009. “Immigration Reduces Crime: An Emerging Scholarly Consensus,” Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance 13, 3–16.
  73. John M. MacDonald, John R. Hipp, and Charlotte Gill. 2013. “The Effects of Immigrant Concentration on Changes  in Neighborhood Crime Rates,” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 29:2, 191–215.
  74. Sampson 2012.
  75. Robert J. Sampson. 2015. “Immigration and America’s Urban Revival,” The American  Prospect (Summer)
  76. Leovy.
  77. Lyndsay N. Boggess and John R. Hipp. 2010. “Violent Crime, Residential Instability and Mobility: Does the Relationship Differ in Minority Neighborhoods?” Journal of Quantitative Criminology 26:3, 351–70.
  78. Sampson 2012.
  79. Boggess and Hipp 2010. See also Hipp, Tita, and Greenbaum.
  80. Johanna Lacoe and Ingrid Gould Ellen. 2015. “Mortgage Foreclosures and the Changing Mix of Crime in Micro-neighborhoods,” Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency 52:5, 1–30. See also Ingrid Gould Ellen, Johanna Lacoe, and Claudia Ayanna Sharygin. 2013. “Do foreclosures cause crime?” Journal of Urban Economics 74, 59–70.
  81. Lacoe and Ellen.
  82. David S. Kirk and Derek S. Hyra. 2012. “Home Foreclosures and Community Crime: Causal or Spurious Association?” Social Science Quarterly 93:3, 648–70.
  83. Lin Cui and Randall  Walsh. 2014. “Foreclosure, Vacancy and Crime,” Journal of Urban Economics 87, 72–84.
  84. Matthew Desmond. 2016. Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City, New York: Crown Publishers.
  85. Ibid.
  86. Jane Jacobs. 1961. The Death and Life of Great American Cities, New York: Vintage Books.
  87. James M. Anderson, John M. MacDonald, Ricky Bluthenthal, and J. Scott Ashwood. 2013. “Reducing Crime by Shaping the Built Environment with Zoning: An Empirical Study of Los Angeles,” University of Pennsylvania Law Review 161, 699–756.
  88. Michelle Kondo, Bernadette Hohl, SeungHoon Han, and Charles Branas. 2015. “Effects of greening and community reuse of vacant lots on crime,” Urban Studies, 1–17.
  89. Kirk and Laub.
  90. Lyndsay N. Boggess and John R. Hipp. 2016. “The Spatial Dimensions of Gentrification and the Consequences for Neighborhood Crime,” Justice Quarterly 33:4, 584–613.
  91. Kirk and Laub. See also Amy Ellen Schwartz, Scott Susin, and Ioan Voicu. 2003. “Has Falling Crime Driven New York City’s Real Estate Boom?” Journal of Housing Research 14:1, 101–35.
  92. Hanna Rosin. 2008. “American Murder Mystery,” The Atlantic.
  93. Ingrid Gould Ellen, Michael C. Lens, and Katherine O’Regan. 2011. “Memphis Murder Mystery Revisited: Do Housing Vouchers Cause Crime?”, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  94. E.g., Leah Hendey, George Galster, Susan J. Popkin, and Chris Hayes. 2016. “Housing Choice Voucher Holders and Neighborhood Crime: A Dynamic Panel Analysis from Chicago,” Urban Affairs Review 52:4, 471–500.
  95. Brent D. Mast and Ronald E. Wilson. 2013. “Housing Choice Vouchers and Crime in Charlotte, NC,” Housing Policy Debate 23:3, 559–96.
  96. Susan J. Popkin, Michael J. Rich, Leah Hendey, Chris Hayes, Joe Parilla, and George Galster. 2012. “Public Housing Transformation and Crime: Making the Case for Responsible Relocation,” Cityscape 14:3, 137–60.
  97. Ibid.
  98. Ibid.
  99. Xavier de Souza Briggs and Margery Austin Turner. 2005. “Assisted Housing Mobility and the Success of Low-Income Minority Families: Lessons for Policy, Practice, and Future Research,” Northwestern Journal of Law & Social Policy 1:1, 25–61.
  100. Jason S. Fish, Susan Ettner, Alfonso Ang, and Arleen F. Brown. 2010. “Association of Perceived Neighborhood Safety on Body Mass Index,” American Journal of Public Health 100:11, 2296–303.
  101. Stephen L. Buka, Theresa L. Stichick, Isolde Birdthistle, and Felton J. Earls. 2001. “Youth Exposure to Violence: Prevalence, Risks, and Consequences,” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 71:3, 298–310.
  102. James Garbarino, Catherine P. Bradshaw, and Joseph A. Vorrasi. 2002. “Mitigating the Effects of Gun Violence on Children and Youth,” The Future of Children 12:2, 73–85.
  103. Patrick Sharkey, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Ingrid Gould Ellen, and Johanna Lacoe. 2014. “High Stakes in the Classroom, High Stakes on the Street: The Effects of Community Violence on Students’ Standardized Test Performance,” Sociological Science 1, 199–220.
  104. Julia Burdick-Will. 2016. “Neighborhood Violent Crime and Academic Growth in Chicago: Lasting Effects of Early Exposure,” Social Forces 95:1, 133–58.
  105. Raj Chetty and Nathaniel Hendren. 2015. “The Impacts  of Neighborhoods on Intergenerational Mobility: Childhood Exposure Effects and County-Level Estimates.”
  106. Susan J. Popkin, Mary Bogle, Janine M. Zweig, Priya Saxena, Lina Breslav, and Molly Michie. 2015. “Let Girls be Girls: How Coercive Sexual Environments Affect Girls Who Live in Disadvantaged Communities and What We Can Do about It,” Urban Institute.
  107. See Lauren J. Krivo. 2014. “Reducing Crime Through Community Investment: Can We Make It Work?” Criminology & Public Policy 13:2, 189–92.
  108. Sara B. Heller, Anuj K. Shah, Jonathan Guryan, Jens Ludwig, Sendhil  Mullainathan, and Harold A. Pollack. 2016. “Thinking, Fast and Slow? Some Experiments to Reduce Crime and Dropout in Chicago,” NBER Working Paper No. 21178.
  109. Friedson and Sharkey.


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