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Elusive Relationship Between Community Organizations and Crime: An Assessment Across Disadvantaged Areas of the South Bronx

NCJ Number
245287
Journal
Criminology Volume: 51 Issue: 1 Dated: February 2013 Pages: 167-216
Author(s)
Lee Ann Slocum; Andres F. Rengifo; Tiffany Choi; Christopher R. Herrmann
Date Published
February 2013
Length
50 pages
Annotation
This research seeks to specify more clearly the relationship between organizations and crime in a disadvantaged urban environment. The authors examine the relationship among nine different types of organizations and violent and property crime controlling for prior crime, land use, and area sociodemographic characteristics.
Abstract
Several theoretical perspectives posit a negative association between the extent of a neighborhood's organizational infrastructure and crime; yet, empirical support for this proposition has been limited in that researchers generally examine only a few types of organizations or combine them into one aggregate measure. Studies with few measures may omit organizations that are effective at reducing crime, whereas those using aggregate measures obscure differences across organizations in their ability to control crime. Using data from 74 block groups in the South Bronx, NY, this research seeks to specify more clearly the relationship between organizations and crime in a disadvantaged urban environment. The authors examine the relationship among nine different types of organizations and violent and property crime controlling for prior crime, land use, and area sociodemographic characteristics. Consistent with theories that highlight the importance of organizations for establishing ties outside the neighborhood, the authors found that block groups with more organizations that bridge to the larger community experience a decrease in crime. Property crime also was reduced in block groups with more organizations that promote the well-being of families and children. The authors found that schools were associated with an increase in property crime, whereas the effects of other organizations were context specific and varied based on neighborhood racial composition, commercial land use, and disadvantage. (Published Abstract)