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Crime, Grime, and Responses to Crimes: Relative Impacts of Neighborhood Structure, Crime, and Physical Deterioration on Residents and Business Personnel in the Twin Cities (From Crime Prevention at a Crossroads, 1997, P 63-75 Steven P. Lab, ed.)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1997
13 pages
This study examined the impacts of physical deterioration, neighborhood structure, and crime on a range of responses to disorder among residents living near (n=870), as well as business personnel working in (n=210), 24 small commercial centers in Minneapolis-St. Paul.
The researchers conducted a secondary analysis of a dataset initially collected by researchers at the Minnesota Crime Prevention Center in the early 1980's. Data were collected through resident and merchant interviews. Based on the resident interviews indexes were constructed to reflect the outcomes of interest. Three outcomes assessed perceived vulnerability: fear and worry while in the center; fear and worry while in the neighborhood; and perceived risk of being victimized by street crime. An index was also developed for informal social control on the resident's block, an index of the respondent's attachment to his/her neighborhood, and an index for perceived incivilities. Data from the merchant surveys focused on four outcomes: fear and worry while in the center; perceived risk of victimization; steps taken to protect the business from crimes; and perceived incivilities in the center. The study clarifies how much responses to disorder, such as fear and informal control, differ across neighborhood; these between-neighborhood differences were found to be significant but relatively small. In addition, the between-neighborhood differences reflect the kind of neighborhood in which residents live rather than the amount of assessed disorder and crime occurring there. Assessed incivilities, in part because they are so closely related to neighborhood structure, make no independent contributions to resident differences across neighborhoods. For merchants, assessed incivilities make some independent contributions to the outcomes, but some contributions are opposite from what was expected, given the resident-based theory developed. At the individual level, perceptions of incivility contributed strongly to both resident-based and merchant-based outcomes. Victimization among residents contributed significantly to several outcomes. Policy implications for community policing and crime prevention are discussed. 16 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1997