This article reports on the goals of a 2-year study of homicide.
The study is examining homicide during a 15-year time frame from 1980 to 1994 in Philadelphia; Phoenix, Ariz.; and St Louis, Mo. Methodologically, "Changing Patterns of Homicide and Social Policy" uses a three-pronged approach. First, the study is examining the problem from an individual, case-level perspective to document how types of homicide have changed over time in each site. Secondly, the approach focuses on neighborhoods as the unit of analysis to develop spatial models of homicide. The research is testing hypotheses related to urban economic and social environments and how changes in these conditions may be related to changing types of criminal homicide. Third, the project is designed to incorporate a macro-oriented perspective in determining how types of lethal violence evident in cities are connected to changes in education, welfare, policing, and recreation policies identified through interviews with public officials in each policy area. Taken together, the results of these three levels of inquiry may provide an indication of how social-structural conditions evident in these urban areas influence the pattern of lethal violence. Of particular importance with this research design is the ability to identify meaningful approaches to violence prevention that are grounded in the experiences of these cities. 1 figure and 8 references
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