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Determinants of Chicago Neighborhood Homicide Trends: 1980-2000

NCJ Number
Date Published
81 pages
This study examined homicide trends in Chicago neighborhoods for 1980 - 2000, using three data sources from the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) and the National Archive of Criminal Justice Data (NACJD).
Study components assessed neighborhood variations in homicide trends; identified the particular types of homicide trajectory in Chicago neighborhoods; assessed whether neighborhoods' structural characteristics influenced homicide trends and trajectories; and determined the extent to which the influence of structural characteristics was mediated by neighborhood levels of collective efficacy. Findings revealed significant variation in homicide trends across Chicago neighborhoods from 1980 to 2000. The group-based trajectory analysis indicated that homicide trajectories were consistently associated with initial levels of concentrated disadvantage and change over time. Change in family structures was also predictive of homicide trajectory, but only in neighborhoods with very high homicide levels at the beginning of the study period. The growth-curve analysis indicated that concentrated disadvantage was associated with homicide levels in the early part of the study period but not with change over time. In contrast, social disorganization and immigrant concentration were significant predictors of variability in homicide trends. Additional models that included data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods show that neighborhood ties and perceived social disorder mediate a substantial portion of the effects on homicide rates of concentrated disadvantage and social disorganization. The findings suggest that if research consistently identifies neighborhood characteristics associated with particular crime trajectories, and assuming that these characteristics are responsive to social policies and programs, then policymakers could target interventions and associated resources at neighborhoods experiencing a particular stage of development; for example, the current study would guide policymakers in devising ways to prevent or reduce the homicide rate in a particular neighborhood, by reducing poverty and unemployment while improving education services. 6 tables, 5 figures, and 68 references

Date Published: January 1, 2012