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Journal Article

Reassessing the Structural Covariates of Violent and Property Crimes in the USA: A County Level Analysis

Augustine J. Kposowa, Kevin D. Breault and Beatrice M. Harrison
The British Journal of Sociology
Vol. 46, No. 1 (Mar., 1995), pp. 79-105
DOI: 10.2307/591624
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/591624
Page Count: 27
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Reassessing the Structural Covariates of Violent and Property Crimes in the USA: A County Level Analysis
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Abstract

With a large set of US counties, measures for the subculture of violence theory, economic deprivation, economic inequality, social integration and other structural variables are tested on property and violent crime indices and homicide rates. Prior research based mainly on small samples of highly urban environments produced conflicting results, and was marred by serious methodological and theoretical problems. In addition, the previous literature neglected non-urban areas, race and ethnic correlates of crime, and social integration and other structural factors. Employing a variety of research strategies and techniques, we fail to support the subculture of violence theory as applied to the region of the South or blacks. With an important qualification, we similarly fail to obtain support for economic inequality. Support is found for economic deprivation in the case of homicide and social integration across every dependent variable. Urbanity is the main determinant of property crime, urbanity and population density are important factors in violent crime, and poverty, divorce and density figure strongly in homicide. Poverty and divorce continue to be the strongest determinants of homicide in rural counties, while population mobility and urbanity are the strongest factors in both rural violent and property crime. Unemployment also plays a strong role in rural property crime.

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