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Poverty, Crack, and Crime: A Cross-City Analysis

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 31 Issue: 3 Dated: (August 1994) Pages: 311-327
Date Published
17 pages
This study examined the relationship between cocaine use among arrestees and homicide, robbery, and burglary rates for the 24 cities participating in the Drug Use Forecasting (DUF) Program.
To isolate the effects of rates of cocaine use among arrestees on crime rates, the analysis included controls for additional city characteristics, including population composition and selected indicators of economic deprivation and social disorganization. Multivariate analyses revealed that arrestee cocaine use had a positive and significant effect on city robbery rates, net of other predictors. The effect of arrestee cocaine use on homicide is more modest, and no effect was found for burglary. Although these results must be interpreted cautiously, they suggest that cocaine use elevates violent crime rates in a city beyond levels expected on the basis of known sociodemographic determinants. Findings indicated that serious consideration should be given to community-level indicators of drug abuse in formulating theories to explain inner-city violence and policies to reduce it. Tables, notes, and 39 references

Date Published: January 1, 1994