Inequality in Crime across Place: Exploring the Role of Segregation

Lauren J. Krivo, Ohio State University
Ruth D. Peterson, Ohio State University
Danielle C. Payne, Ohio State University

While many studies have examined the effects of racial residential segregation and disadvantage on crime, the connections among these factors have not been conceptualized and empirically evaluated in a fashion that fully elucidates their interrelationships. To do so, we examine whether and how neighborhood crime is a function of local area conditions and aspects of the overall urban context--particularly segregation. Two hypotheses are tested: (1) neighborhoods in more segregated cities have higher robbery rates than those in less segregated cities; and (2) the influence of neighborhood disadvantage on local robbery rates varies depending on citywide segregation. Using data for census tracts within 75 cities, we show that local robbery rates are significantly higher in more segregated cities, and citywide racial segregation interacts with neighborhood disadvantage to influence robbery rates. We discuss the implications of these findings in light of the central structural role of race in U.S. society.

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Presented in Session 31: Demography of Crime