Crime and the City

Franklin E. Zimring

in The City that Became Safe

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199844425
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199943357 | DOI:

Series: Studies in Crime and Public Policy

Crime and the City

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This chapter argues that the crime decline documented in this study requires a fundamental rethinking of the relationship between urban life and urban crime in the 21st century. Most of the high rate of life-threatening violence and predatory crime that observers have regarded as an inherent element of the structure and social content of polyglot big cities in the United States is not a necessary outgrowth of modern urban life. The chapter is organized around four topics. The first section revisits the data presented in Chapter 1 to argue that the scope of New York's decline is singular because its variability undermines conventional assumptions about the link between urban populations and urban crime rates. The second section then contrasts previous assumptions about the malleability and variability of urban crime with the experience in New York City since 1990. The third section provides preliminary data on the impact of crime policies and crime rates on minority populations. The final section considers the implications of what we are learning about the malleability of urban crime for criminological theories about crime causation and distribution and for social theories about modern urban life.

Keywords: crime decline; New York City; urban life; urban crime; crime rates; crime causation; social theories; criminological theories

Chapter.  8264 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Theory

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