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The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime

Lance Hannon and James Defronzo
Social Problems
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Aug., 1998), pp. 383-392
DOI: 10.2307/3097192
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3097192
Page Count: 10
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
The Truly Disadvantaged, Public Assistance, and Crime
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Abstract

This study examines the conditioning effect of welfare benefits on the relationship between resource deprivation and metropolitan crime rates. We analyzed aggregate data for a sample of large metropolitan counties in 1990 (N = 406). Our welfare measure combined the cost-of-living-adjusted public assistance payment per poor person and the public assistance participation rate among the poor. Our measure of resource deprivation included three highly correlated factors: family poverty rate, percent black, and percent of female-headed families. Regression analyses indicated that the prevalence of resource deprivation had significantly less effect on crime rates in areas with higher levels of welfare assistance. The results suggest that the amelioration of economic distress remains a viable strategy for reducing serious crime.

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