Community Disadvantage and Crime

Robert J. Fornango

in Criminology

ISBN: 9780195396607
Published online March 2011 | | DOI:
Community Disadvantage and Crime

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The literature on community disadvantage and crime covers a broad spectrum of topics. At the heart of the issue is the need to understand why crime rates are consistently positively correlated with community poverty, inequality, normative adaptations, and other social problems. Over time, disadvantage has been conceptualized and operationalized in a variety of forms such as absolute poverty, relative poverty or economic inequality, and measures of unemployment and joblessness indicating labor-market accessibility. These economic dimensions of disadvantage have also been supplemented with several social or cultural indicators such as the prevalence of single-parent families, racial minority population composition, and measures of educational achievement such as high school dropout rates. More recent research has also combined sets of indicators to form multidimensional indexes of concentrated disadvantage. The relationship between community disadvantage and crime has also been studied across numerous levels of aggregation, including neighborhood-level analyses within cities, across samples of large cities, and across metropolitan areas. Broadly stated, the theoretical mechanisms that link community disadvantage to crime include macrostructural forces that differentially concentrate disadvantage among specific populations, the concomitant social isolation and cultural adaptation of disadvantaged populations, and the weakening of systemic networks of social control.

Article.  8449 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Criminal Justice ; Criminology

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