The Problem of High Crime Rates in America and Racial Inequality
I lived in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for the past 25 years. I recently moved to York County, Pennsylvania and have been living here for a year. There are plenty of community issues, but one major issue has remained constant in York which is the issue of high crime rates. Since I’ve been growing up, York has always had a negative reputation because of the high crime. My parents would always say York is a bad area, people get shot there every day. Sometimes I would think it can’t be worse than Philadelphia or Detroit. Now that I have been living in York for a year now, the statements that have contributed to its reputation are true and real.
Every day or even every other day there is a shooting or some sort of high crime. Some days are unbelievable with how young the individuals are that are either arrested for the crime or killed from gun violence. In recent news, some of the individuals from the community have started to state they want to leave the area and move to somewhere safe. “Even when crime rates drop, the perceived risk of being shot by a criminal remains high, based on people’s perception” (Heath, 2001).
The article “Perceived Vulnerability and Fear of Crime: Why Fear Stays High When Crime Rates Drop”, the researcher claims that the apparent increase in random violence may be a cause for the public’s fear to remain high. This research examines perceived personal risk of being victimize, fear of crime to examine the relationship, and gun violence. Americans list crime as one of the most important issues that this country faces. The research concluded that the fear of crime remains high, and unlikely to lower, because people fear rare events (being caught in gunfire) compared to likely events (being killed by an abusive partner) (Heath, Kavanagh, & Raethompson, 2001).
I believe this resource is credible because it was published in a journal as well as the credibility of the authors. The method of research was a telephone interview. The individuals from Chicago were randomly selected from the telephone directory (Random Digit Dialing) and agreed to participate in the interview. The standardized interview questions included the following: fear of crime, perceived risk of being shot by a criminal, television viewing, , perceptions of gun victim characteristics, and basic demographics. There were three models that were analyzed and tested: the chi-square good-of-fit test, the comparative fit index, and the normed fit index.
There were an even number of male and female individuals ranging in different ages and different incomes; 52% were Caucasian, with the remainder being classified as “non-white”. This research was done at a time when crime was at an all-time low, but, the fear of crime still existed. When people fear being caught in gunfire, they will avoid the high crime areas. I believe this resource is applicable to my research because it shows how individuals fear crime and validates my claim that the fear of crime impedes the growth and potential of places where high crime exists. In the article, “Neighborhood Revitalization and New Life: A Land Value Taxation Approach” is an essay or statement derived from a theory. The author proposes using the Geologist approach to save declining neighborhoods by removing the penalty of taxation on the properties of those who can’t pay taxes and targeting tax breaks for improvements. This helps the financing issues of revitalization by easing the tax burden in a narrowcasting manner. It is a tool for revitalization that will “reward the community for “doing” and penalize those who profit on poverty and blight” (Vincent, 2012).
The article was published in The American Journal of Economics and Sociology. The evidence used supports the author’s claims, and many resources were cited, however, I feel that the author was somewhat biased. The author is an Executive Director at the Center for the Study of Economics in Philadelphia. Overall, I believe this article is a credible secondary source that gives a theory of the author’s views on one way to revitalize run-down neighborhoods and could provide some great insights, but I would like to know more about what the author does in order to evaluate his intentions. I do not believe this article is very applicable to my research as it does not evaluate in depth why neighborhoods decline. It researches the topic of how to revitalize neighborhoods. It would be helpful to know if these revitalized neighborhoods were in high crime cities. The high crime rates that then cause the neighborhood to decline? Or does declining neighborhoods cause high crime rates? What came first?
In the article, “The Reproduction of Racial Inequality: How Crime Affects Housing Turnover”, is a study on the microlevel process of housing turnover between individuals African American and Caucasian. The foundation of research was grounded in place stratification theory of residential attainment, which states that residential mobility contributes to the social and economic well-being of racial groups. It states the main reason that minorities and Caucasian live in more separated areas is because the minorities, compared to Caucasian, have accumulated less wealth. If minorities groups acquire higher levels of wealth, they would also progress toward socioeconomic and assimilation. The experiences of African Americans should be understood within a larger context, so more research would be beneficial as African Americans experience more discrimination than Whites when it comes to encounters with landlords, home sellers, etc. (this is still relevant today, but has improved) (Xie, & Mcdowall, 2010).
The studies show that African Americans live in higher crime neighborhoods than Caucasian and are more exposed to crime. The results suggest that a racial gap in crime exposure is caused by locational processes that create neighborhoods that are racially and economically segregated. A causal link between crime and residential mobility could not be established, but it is reasonable to conclude, based on theoretical and cross-sectional data, that crime influences patterns of housing turnover. The issue of neighborhood safety is a concern, and Americans are sensitive to the reputation of different neighborhoods. However, studies show that Whites will often move to safer neighborhoods and minorities will not (which may be based on economic factors) (Xie, & Mcdowall, 2010). In recent studies, overall, the results are consistent with place stratification theory that finds crime having a significant impact on racial turnover and that the effect can’t be explained by racial socioeconomic differences. There is a direct link between location of crime and the housing transition outcome and there was a significant effect of neighborhood economic resources and racial turnover.
Also, racial inequality in housing access can lead high-crime neighborhoods down a path of increasing minority concentration (Xie, & Mcdowall, 2010). I believe this article is applicable and credible to my research as it shows that crime influences housing turnover and that, overall, influences the quality of neighborhoods. It brings to light more clarity on this subject, but also more questions, which will provide more research to the issue. The author consists of an assistant professor in the School of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Arizona State University and a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Albany. Their work has appeared in many journals and other outlets (Xie, & Mcdowall, 2010).
In the article, “The Effect of Income on Delinquency”, it is a study of factors affecting whether low income is a cause, important evidence, and delinquency. The conclusion was that it appears that the effect of income on delinquency is not small. Rough calculations indicate that a 10% rise in income may be expected to reduce delinquency rates by 15 – 20%. Family structure plays a part in low economic conditions.
This article is credible and applicable as it studies a net causal relationship running from income to delinquent behavior by using the empirical investigation of delinquency. The research evaluates where crime comes from, which adds to my study of the effect high crimes have on hindering the growth and potential of high crime communities. It provides some research on how to alleviate the crime. The author is an assistant professor of Economics at Ohio State University. Research for this paper was carried out under United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare Grant.