This article explores whether local institutions matter for controlling neighborhood violence. Disadvantaged neighborhoods have difficulty attracting and maintaining conventional institutions that help control crime. At the same time, institutional settings that are conducive to violence are more prevalent. This article assesses whether certain local institutions provide a mechanism linking economic deprivation and residential instability to criminal violence. Rates of total and individual violent crimes are examined for census tracts in Columbus, Ohio for 1990. The findings show that communities may reduce violent crime somewhat by developing a larger base of certain types of local institutions (e.g., recreation centers) and preventing the encroachment of others (i.e., bars). Still, such institutional mechanisms do not explain why economic deprivation and residential instability are strongly linked to violent crime. This suggests that efforts to substantially reduce violence in local communities must counter the macro-structural forces that increase economic deprivation and lead to inner-city decline.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology