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Neighborhood Changes in Ecology and Violence

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 26 Issue: 4 Dated: (November 1988) Pages: 553-589
Date Published
37 pages
This study examined links between ecological changes and changes in violence in Baltimore neighborhoods in the 1970's using census measures and crime statistics.
During the decade, the two most salient ecological changes were gentrification of a large number of neighborhoods and the further absorption of several older, minority neighborhoods into an underclass status. Relative deprivation and social disorganization theories each predict increasing violence in gentrifying and emerging underclass neighborhoods. However, the former highlights the role of changes in economic status, while the latter focuses on the role of changes in stability or family status. It was hypothesized that connections between ecological change and changes in disorder are contingent not only on historical context, but also on overall neighborhood structure at the beginning of the period. It also was hypothesized that neighborhoods becoming more solidly underclass will experience increasing violence as status and stability decline while emerging gentrifying neighborhoods will experience increased violence as status and stability increase. Controlling for spatial autocorrelation, the study supports these hypotheses. In underclass neighborhoods, status changes were most clearly linked to changes in violence; whereas in gentrifying neighborhoods, violence shifts were most closely tied to changing stability. 81 references. (Author abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 1988