Differential benefits? Crime and community investments in racially distinct neighborhoods

Darlene F. Saporu, Charles L. Patton, Lauren J. Krivo, Ruth D. Peterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


This article investigates whether and how residential loans that accrue to neighborhoods in US urban areas vary in their influence on violent and property crime across distinct race-ethnic communities, and depend on neighborhood levels of socioeconomic disadvantage. Building on recent literature on residential loans and crime, and drawing on racial structure and social disorganization perspectives, we posit that non-White and more disadvantaged neighborhoods gain more '‘bang’' (i.e., crime reduction) for the investment dollars that they accrue thanWhite and less disadvantaged areas. Using data from the National Neighborhood Crime Study for over 8,000 neighborhoods across 87 US cities, our multilevel analyses of violent and property crime for four types of neighborhoods revealed support for these hypotheses.While all types of neighborhoods benefit from a larger influx of residential loans, the payoff for African American and Latino areas is considerably greater than for White communities, and this is especially true for reductions in violent crime. In addition, the more disadvantaged the community the larger the negative association between lending and both violent and property crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)79-102
Number of pages24
JournalRace and Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


  • Community investments
  • Mortgage lending
  • Neighborhood crime
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Social disorganization


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