Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2008, $34,789)
One of the most important social changes in the United States during the 1980s and 1990s was the dramatic increase and subsequent decrease in crime, and particularly violent crime, in large cities. For example, the homicide rate in Chicago nearly tripled between 1965 and 1992, after which point it declined by more than 50% through 2005. Surely this is a remarkable pattern of change, but is this trend representative of all areas in the city? The general purpose of the proposed project is to examine homicide trends in Chicago neighborhoods from 1980-2000 using three data sources available from ICPSR and the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD). Drawing on the social disorganization and concentrated disadvantage literature, this study will use growth-curve modeling and semi-parametric group-based trajectory modeling to: 1) assess neighborhood variation in homicide trends; 2) identify the particular types of homicide trajectory that Chicago neighborhoods follow; 3) assess whether structural characteristics of neighborhoods influence homicide trends and trajectories; and 4) determine the extent to which the influence of structural characteristics is mediated by neighborhood levels of collective efficacy. This project extends prior research by not only describing the homicide trends and trajectories of Chicago neighborhoods, but also identifying the neighborhood characteristics that directly and indirectly influence those trends.