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Unequal Crime Decline

Unequal Crime Decline: Theorizing Race, Urban Inequality, and Criminal Violence

Karen F. Parker
Copyright Date: 2008
Published by: NYU Press
Pages: 180
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  • Book Info
    Unequal Crime Decline
    Book Description:

    2009 Choice Outstanding Academic TitleCrime in most urban areas has been falling since 1991. While the decline has been well-documented, few scholars have analyzed which groups have most benefited from the crime decline and which are still on the frontlines of violence - and why that might be. In Unequal Crime Decline, Karen F. Parker presents a structural and theoretical analysis of the various factors that affect the crime decline, looking particularly at the past three decades and the shifts that have taken place, and offers original insight into which trends have declined and why.Taking into account such indicators as employment, labor market opportunities, skill levels, housing, changes in racial composition, family structure, and drug trafficking, Parker provides statistics that illustrate how these factors do or do not affect urban violence, and carefully considers these factors in relation to various crime trends, such as rates involving blacks, whites, but also trends among black males, white females, as well as others. Throughout the book she discusses popular structural theories of crime and their limitations, in the end concentrating on today's issues and important contemporary policy to be considered. Unequal Crime Decline is a comprehensive and theoretically sophisticated look at the relationship among race, urban inequality, and violence in the years leading up to and following America's landmark crime drop.

    eISBN: 978-0-8147-6849-5
    Subjects: Sociology

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. ix-xii)
  4. 1 Introduction
    (pp. 1-13)

    The study of urban violence has taken an interesting turn. After the turbulent 1980s, when reports of violence, drugs, and economic recession ran daily in major newspapers and media outlets, the crime drop of the 1990s in U.S. cities baffled academicians and the public alike. To our surprise, the lethal 1980s was followed by safer 1990s. Researchers rushed to understand what could cause this dramatic rise and fall in homicide trends over time. Conservation crime control policies, such as rapid incarceration rates and greater police presence, receding drug markets, and changes in gun policies were some of the possible explanations...

  5. 2 The Difference Race and Gender Makes: A Detailed Look at Violent Crime and the Crime Drop
    (pp. 14-29)

    Crime rates fell sharply in U. S. cities in the 1990s, plummeting the homicide rate to its lowest point in thirty-five years. Addressing these changes is the central focus of this chapter, which provides statistical information on the trends in violent crime for urban areas since the 1980s. Highlighted are the trends and patterns in violence for the total population and for distinct groups over time (1980 to 2003, specifically). These rates are based on supplemental homicide reports and adjusted for missing data using a formula created for use in this book (see Technical Appendix). Leading explanations for the crime...

  6. 3 Structural Perspectives on Crime and Their Critics
    (pp. 30-57)

    As the crime drop continued through the 1990s and attention to this trend grew, scholars searched for answers in the political and legal changes of the time. The rise in incarceration, the expanding size of police departments, and declining unemployment rates were among the explanations pursued. Yet, as the crime drop was explored in more detail, the complexity of the decline became apparent, as did the recognition that these broad explanations were insufficient. Although political and legal factors are clearly relevant to the crime drop, more important is to link the decline in homicide rates with the diverse social and...

  7. 4 Racial Stratification and the Local Urban Economy
    (pp. 58-82)

    The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was one of the greatest advancements in American history. As noted, racial discrimination regarding access to voting, schools, public accommodations, and employment in the United States was declared illegal. Organizations and workplaces were pressured to desegregate and, in adherence to one of the goals behind the Civil Rights Act, to integrate whites with blacks, males with females. Although racial and ethnic groups have made advances both politically and economically since the 1960s, neither legal change nor political pressure has altered the pace of workplace desegregation to where employment parity has become a reality. Almost...

  8. 5 Race, Urban Inequality, and the Changing Nature of Violence: An Illustration of Theoretical Integration
    (pp. 83-110)

    Examining the trends in labor market characteristics from 1980 to 2000 found considerable racial and gender differences over time. Chapter 4 established the uneven effect of industrial restructuring on black male workers in the 1980s, whereas economic improvements and a more balanced diffusion of deindustrialization across racial groups signified the 1990s. Although much of the research documents strong regional variations in economic restructuring (Wilson 1987; Kasarda 1992; Ricketts and Sawhill 1988), workplace segregation exists in every region and in all major industrial sectors. In this chapter my attention turns to linking patterns in labor market stratification to urban violence. Essentially...

  9. 6 Conclusion
    (pp. 111-124)

    Much has changed in the urban economy since the 1970s. A look at the American urban poor provides a compelling example. Poverty became more spatially concentrated in U.S. cites, with minority neighborhoods experiencing the most extreme levels. Many urban cities saw good jobs move away, as occurred with big manufacturing employers in cities like Detroit. With the shift from the

    “old” to the “new economy,” the urban landscape has been altered, along with the demographic makeup of cities. We now live in an ethnic and racially diverse nation, such that a discussion of urban areas would be incomplete without an...

  10. Technical Appendix
    (pp. 125-130)
  11. Notes
    (pp. 131-134)
  12. References
    (pp. 135-158)
  13. Index
    (pp. 159-162)
  14. About the Author
    (pp. 163-163)