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ViolentCrimeOccurrenceWithinNeighborhoodsofDifferent

SocioeconomicStandings
ThePennsylvaniaStateUniversity
ResearchProposalAssignment5:FinalDraft
MeghanMoorhouse
NicoleHarrington
CRIM250WSpring2016
Section003
May2nd,2016

Violentcrimeisarecurringissuethatispresentwithineverysociety,especiallyintheUnited
States.AlthoughoverthepastdecadeviolentcrimerateshavebeendecreasingintheUnitedStates,in
2015nationalviolentcrimeratesshowedanoverallincreaseby1.7percent(USDJandFBI,2015).
Violentcrimehasmanydeterminants,includingrace,ethnicity,location,andsocioeconomicstatus.When
consideringviolentcrime,itisalsoimportanttoconsidertheeffectsitmayhaveonsociety.Specifically
lookingatviolentcrimeandsocioeconomicstatus,itmaybepossibletoinfactuseviolentcrimerateasa
determinateofaveragesocioeconomicstatuswithinacommunity.Totestthispossibility,theuseof
socialresearchisrequired.Thegoalofthesuggestedresearchthereforeistotestthefollowinghypothesis
withrespecttothesevariables:Ahighrateofviolentcrimeoccurrenceswithinaneighborhoodnegatively
affectstheaveragesocioeconomicstatusoftheneighborhood.InordertoconductthisresearchIam
proposinguseofasurveyprovidedtoarandomarrayofUSneighborhoodstogatherdatarelatedto
socioeconomicstatusandviolentcrime.Thesedatawillthenbeusedinordertoanswertheresearch
question:Doviolentcrimeratesaffecttheaveragesocioeconomicstatusofresidentswithina
neighborhood?
LiteratureReview:ComparingResearchRelatedtoViolentCrime
Socioeconomicstatushasbeenandstillstandstobeareoccurringdeterminantofviolentcrime
ratesinneighborhoods(LoganandStults,1999)andwhilesocioeconomicstatusisalargedeterminantof
violentcrime,ithasbeenfoundthatracialandethniccompositionofaneighborhoodisalsoassociated
withlocalviolentcrimerates(BoggessandHipp,2010).Inordertoanalyzethesedeterminantsofliving
inlocalareaswithhigherorlowercrimerates,astudywasconductedintheClevelandmetropolitan
regionin1990whichfocusedonracialaspectsandaimedtodeterminewhetherthereareanyracial
differencesintheseareaswithdifferentcrimerates.Themethodsusedinthisstudyincludedmultivariate
modelsestimatedforwhitesandblacksandseparatemodelsforcityandsuburbanresidentsandfor
violentcrimeandpropertycrime.ThedatausedforthisstudywasobtainedusingFederalBureauof

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InvestigationindexcrimesreportedbytheClevelandPoliceDepartmentandfromUniformCrime
Reportswhilefocusingonsuburbanareaswithapopulationabove10,000(LoganandStults,1999).The
limitationsinusingthesedataarerecognizedbyLoganandStults(1999)ascrimereportsdonotalways
accuratelyrepresentactualcrimerates.Usingthedata,LoganandStults(1999)estimatedseparate
equationsforwhitesandblacksconsistingofbothpropertyandviolentcrimes.Theequationswerethen
usedinasinglemodel,firstrepresentingtheClevelandmetropolitanareaasawhole,thenaddinga
city/suburbanlocationvariableinordertomeasuresuburbancrimeexposure,andthenfinallyestimating
separatemodelsrepresentingthesuburbanandcityportionsofthewholemetropolitanarea.Theresultsof
thisstudyshowthatexposuretobothviolentcrimeandpropertycrimeisstronglyrelatedto
socioeconomicstatusforbothwhitesandblacks,buttherearealsoindependenteffectsofraceon
exposuretoviolentcrime.AccordingtoLoganandStults(1999),inthesuburbswhitesareconcentrated
incommunitieswithlowcrimeratesregardlessoftheirsocialclassandwhiletherearesubstantialclass
differencesamongsuburbannonwhites,evenwealthyblacksliveinplaceswithahigherviolentcrime
ratethandopoorwhites.Thismaymeanthatracehasagreatereffectonviolentneighborhoodcrimethan
socioeconomicstatus,butthiscanonlybeprovenwithfurtherresearch.
Inresearchingtherelationshipbetweenrace/ethnicityandviolence,itisimportanttofocuson
whattheunderlyingnatureofthisviolencestemsfrom.Althoughcommunitycontextvariablesarealarge
componentinexplainingtherelationshipbetweenrace/ethnicityandviolenceandcrimeratesingeneral
(Alba,Logan,andBellair,1994),itisimportanttoalsoconsidersocialpsychologicalprocessesthatmay
affectthisrelationship(Kaufman,2005).InthestudyconductedbyKaufman(2005),itisarguedthatnot
onlystructuralcontextinneighborhoodsaffectsparticipationinviolencebyindividuals,butalsothe
impactofneighborhoodstructuralcharacteristicsisarbitratedbyindividualsocialpsychological
processessuchasthosedescribedbythesocialcontroltheory,theselfcontroltheory,thesociallearning
theory,andthegeneralstraintheory.ThisresearchwasconductedusingAddHealthdata,whichproved

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advantageousasitprovidedalargesamplesize,diversityinethnicgroups,andavarietyofmeasuresat
individualandcommunitylevels(Kaufman,2005).Themethodsusedbytheresearcherincludefocusing
onpsychologicaltheoriesofcrimeinordertohopefullyexplainviolenceanditsrelationtoraceand
ethnicity.Morespecifically,theresearcherexaminestheroleofsocialpsychologicalprocessesin
mediatingtheimpactofneighborhoodcontextsonviolencebyusingbothacrosssectionalanda
longitudinalanalysis.Theresultsofthisstudyshowtheimportanceoftheneighborhoodcontext,
socioeconomicstatus,andsocialpsychologicalprocessesinexplainingtherelationshipbetweenrace,
ethnicityandviolence.
Neighborhoodinequalityandheterogeneityhaveconsistentlyhadaneffectoncrimerates.The
questionathandismorespecificallywhetherornotandtowhatextentdoincomeinequalityandracial
differencesinneighborhoodsaffectthecrimeratesinthoseneighborhoods.Raceisfrequentlyseenasa
determinantofcrimeandviolenceinneighborhoods,evenwhentakingspacialeffectsintoconsideration
(Groff,Johnson,andTaylor,2015).IntheresearchconductedbyHipp(2007),theseaspectswere
measuredtodeterminetheeffecttheyhaveoncrimerates.Thedatausedinthisstudywasextractedfrom
bothaggregatecensusdataandindividualcensusdata.Theaggregatecensusdatamorespecificallyis
takenfromsummarytapefiles(STFs)whiletheindividualcensusdataistakenfromPublicUse
MicrodataSamples(PUMS)(Hipp,2007).Takingspatialeffectsintoaccount,Hipp(2007)used
Lagrangemultiplierteststocalculatespacialautocorrelationandspaciallageffectsinordertoincrease
accuracyofthestudy.Inhismethods,theresearcherestimatesafixedeffectsmodelforconditioningon
cities.Theresultsofthestudyshowevidencehowimportantracial/ethnicheterogeneitycanbefor
predictingtheamountofcrimecommittedbystrangers,evenwhencontrollingfortheeffectsofincome
inequality.Morespecifically,theresultsshowthatblackshaveahigherexposuretocrimeasopposedto
otherraces,showingthatracedoesinfactaffecttheamountofcrimerateswithinneighborhoods.

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Violentcrimeandsocioeconomicdisadvantagehasbeenshowntotriggerpopulationdeclinein
Chicago,specificallyinneighborhoodsfrom1970to1990.Socioeconomicdisadvantagehasbeenshown
tobeadeterminantinpredictingcrimeratesandviolence,includingbutnotlimitedtohomicides(Kubrin
andWeitzer,2003).InthestudyconductedbyMorenoffandSampson(1997),thispopulationdecline
wasmeasuredusingcrimeandsocioeconomicdisadvantagesasdeterminants.Themethodsusedinthis
researchincludetheuseoftheuseofthecensusforChicagointheyears1970,1980,and1990.Using
thesecensuses,thedependentvariablechangeinatract'spopulationovereachintercensalperiod
(MorenoffandSampson,1997)wascreatedandusedtomeasurerawchangescoresandresidualchange
scoresusingspecificscientificequations.Theresultsofthisstudyshowedthathighlevelsofhomicide
andincreasesovertimeinthespatialproximitytohomicidewereassociatedwithlargelossesintotal
populationacross826censustracts.Therewasalsoalargedifferenceshowninthepatternsforblackand
whites,showingthatracialdifferencesareimportantwhenconsideringcrimeratesandpopulation
decline.
Predictingcrimehasbeenafocusformanyresearchers.Crimehasmanydeterminants,including
race,socioeconomicstatus,andcomponentssuchasselfcontrol(Zimmermanet.al,2015).Inastudy
conductedbyDrawve,Thomas,andWalker(2016),crimepredictabilitywasmeasuredusingspecific
scientificmeasures.Thepurposeofthestudywastouseriskterrainmodeling(RTM)asameansof
measuringcrimeandmorespecificallycreatinganaggregateneighborhoodriskofcrime(ANROC)
measure.TheresearcherswantedtoseetheRTMsabilitytomeasureandforecastcrimeanditsaccuracy
inLittleRock,Arkansas.Drove,Thomas,andWalker(2016)identified14riskfactorsexpectedto
influenceviolentcrimes.TheythenconstructedaRTMon2013violentcrimesandaveragedtheriskof
crimepercellbyneighborhood(Censustract),creatinganaggregateneighborhoodriskofcrimemeasure.
TheANROCmeasuretheycreatedwasthenusedtopredict2014neighborhoodviolentcrimerates.The
resultsofthestudyshowthatthemeasurestakenhelptoincreaseknowledgeofvariationinneighborhood

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crimerates.TheresultsalsoshowthatthemeasuresarereliablepredictorsofviolentcrimesinLittle
Rock.
ProposedResearchDesign
Theempiricalresearchpreviouslydescribedintheliteraturereviewprovidesmanyopportunities
forinsighttotherelationshipbetweenviolentcrimeandsocioeconomicstatus.Althoughtheresearch
provideddoesallowresearcherstomakeassumptionsaboutthisrelationship,therearestillquestionsthat
canbeansweredwithfurtherresearch.Suchquestionsincludehowsocioeconomicstatusdirectlyaffects
theamountofviolentcrimeanindividualcommitsandhowthisindividualmayinfluenceothersto
commitsimilarviolentcrimes.Similarly,thequestionofhowhighviolentcrimerateswithina
neighborhoodaffectthesocioeconomicstatusoftheresidentswithinthatneighborhoodcanbeexplored
withfurtherresearch.Manyresearchersfocusontheopposite:howsocioeconomicstatusisadeterminate
ofviolentcrimerates,whichallowsforagreateropportunitytoexplorethesuggestedquestion.
Toanalyzethequestionofhowviolentcrimeratesmayinfactaffectsocioeconomicstatus,Iam
proposingtheuseofadeductiveapproachtoresearchbycreatingahypothesisandthenusingquantitative
empiricaldatatodeterminewhetherthehypothesisistrueorfalse.Thisresearchcanbeconsidered
explanatoryduetothefactthatitaimstoexplainonephenomenausinganother,ormorespecifically
explainingaverageneighborhoodsocioeconomicstatusbyamountofviolentcrimeoccurrences.The
variablesthatwillbetakenintoconsiderationincludetheindependentvariable,orthenumberofviolent
crimeoccurrences,andthedependentvariable,ortheaveragesocioeconomicstatusoftheneighborhood.
Thegoaloftheresearchthereforeistotestthefollowinghypothesiswithrespecttothesevariables:A
highrateofviolentcrimeoccurrenceswithinaneighborhoodnegativelyaffectstheaverage
socioeconomicstatusoftheneighborhood.
Intestingthisresearchhypothesis,onemethodthatcanbeusedissurveying.Increatingasurvey
specificallydesignedtotargetthepopulationinquestion,datacanbecollectedthatmayhopefully

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representthepopulationwithanadequatelevelofaccuracy.Inordertoaccuratelyrepresenttheoverall
population,thissurveywillhavetobeprovidedtoarandomarrayofparticipantsfromarandomselection
oftargetlocations.Thesurveywillalsobeconductedoverthephoneinordertomaximizetheamountof
datacollected.Inordertomaximizeresponsetothesurvey,severalmeasureswillbetaken.First,itwill
beassumedthatmanyrespondentsmaynotanswerthephoneatfirstcallsotherewillbeanecessityto
callmorethanonce.Second,thesurveyorswillbetrainedtoconductthequestionnairecarefullyand
kindlysothattherespondentdoesnotfeeluneasyinprovidingtheirresponses.Finally,therespondents
shouldbeinformedofthepurposeofthesurveyandtheyshouldalsobeinformedthattheirresponses
willbecompletelyanonymoussothattheydonotthinktheymaybeincriminatingthemselves.
Thesurveytobecreatedshouldtargetboththeindependentvariableandthedependentvariable.
Regardingtheindependentvariable,alargeportionofsurveyquestionsshouldbeaskedrelatingto
violentcrime.Thequestionsshouldaimtoaskwhethertherespondenthascommittedaviolentcrime,has
beenavictimofaviolentcrime,orhaswitnessedaviolentcrimeoccurringwithintheneighborhood.An
exampleofaquestionthatcanbeusedincludes:Inthepast6months,haveyoupersonallybeenavictim
ofviolentcrime?Thesecondportionofquestionsshouldasktherespondentwhattheircurrent
socioeconomicstatusstandstobe.Beforethesurveybegins,violentcrimeandsocioeconomicstatus
shouldbedefinedfortherespondenttohaveabetterunderstandofwhatisbeingaskedandinorderto
collectmoreaccurateresponses.Aftercollectingthesedata,theresponsesshouldbecodedandthen
comparedinordertodeterminewhetherthenumberofreportsofviolentcrimecorrelateswiththe
averagesocioeconomicstatusreportedbeinghighorlow.

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References
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Boggess,L.,&Hipp,J.(2010).ViolentCrime,ResidentialInstabilityandMobility:Doesthe
RelationshipDifferinMinorityNeighborhoods?.JournalOfQuantitativeCriminology,
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Drawve,G.,Thomas,S.A.,&Walker,J.T.(2016).Bringingthephysicalenvironmentbackinto
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