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The Impact of Crime on Communities

Ralph B. Taylor
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Vol. 539, Reactions to Crime and Violence (May, 1995), pp. 28-45
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1048394
Page Count: 18
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The Impact of Crime on Communities
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Abstract

Current wisdom suggests that high or increasing crime levels make communities decline. Researchers usually translate decline to mean an increasing desire to move or higher actual mobility of residents; weaker attachments of residents to, and satisfaction with, their neighborhood; less local involvement; and lower house values. Empirical research confirms only some of this wisdom. Crime relates as expected to house prices, neighborhood satisfaction, and the desire to move. But research simultaneously suggests that crime neither spurs mobility nor necessarily decreases local involvement. Past research fails to differentiate the impacts of specific crime rates and does not examine impacts of static versus changing crime rates. This article examines impacts of past and changing crime levels on changes in relative house values and vacancy rates in Baltimore, Maryland, neighborhoods in the 1970s. The results reveal that different crimes influence different aspects of the housing market. Past and changing crime rates play roles in ecological transitions of neighborhoods. In keeping with the current findings of contingent impacts of racial change on mobility, I suggest that impacts of crime and related problems on neighborhood viability may be contingent on personal, historical, and locale-specific factors.

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