Neighborhoods, Culture, and Violent Crime

In Chapter 3, we provided a brief introduction to the criminological literature on neighborhoods and crime and laid out our reasoning for why certain community factors will have a special relationship with violence. Violent subcultural norms and beliefs are likely to be fostered in high-poverty, highly disorganized neighborhoods where norms are not clear, stress is high, opportunities for achievement are minimal, and trust in formal law enforcement is low.

Extant research supports many of the tenets of classic social disorganization theory and its successor, the collective efficacy model. Indicators of disorganization have been associated with higher crime, while social networks, neighbor interaction, and collective efficacy are consistently associated with lower crime. The question remains whether the association between those factors is more consistent when we examine violent outcomes, or whether the magnitude of the effects is larger for violent outcomes, as we have proposed.

In this chapter, we will first provide a review of the research on community factors and violent crime, and then present our methodology and findings related to the differential etiology of violence.

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