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Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 1:49 AM
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The Great Crime Decline and the Comeback of Cities

The Great Crime Decline and the Comeback of Cities


January 16th, 2018

Read More: https://www.citylab.com/life/2018/01...cities/549998/

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Two of the most remarkable trends in recent years have been the tremendous decline in violent crime and the comeback of once downtrodden and written-off cities. In his new book, Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life and the New War on Violence, New York University sociologist Patrick Sharkey argues that these two trends are inextricably related. The decline in violent crime has paved the way for the urban revival, and the urban revival has in turn help to stabilize neighborhoods and make them safer and better places to live.

- Violence started to rise in the 1960s and stayed at an extremely high level from the ‘70s to the beginning of the ‘90s. That’s when violence started to fall. By 2014, the homicide rate was 4.5 per 100,000 people, and that was the lowest rate in at least 50 years. 2014 was really one of the safest years in the history of the U.S. --- It happened because city spaces transformed. After years in which urban neighborhoods were largely abandoned, left on their own, a whole bunch of different actors came together and transformed urban neighborhoods. Part of that was the police. Law enforcement became more effective at what they were doing by using data about where police should be stationed, where the problems were arising. They started to shut down open-air drug markets to really end the crack epidemic, which was a major source of violent crime all over the country.

- There were other changes, too. Private security forces expanded. Private companies started hiring private security guards. Home-owners started to install alarm systems and camera systems. Technology improved that made motor-vehicle theft much less successful. Cities started to install camera systems. So it wasn’t just the police. It was about the transformation of urban spaces, about a set of changes that took place at the same time. --- Part of that was a very local mobilization against violence that was driven by residents and local organizations to retake parks, alleyways, city blocks, and to confront violence in a way that communities have always tried to do but that they did in a much more systematic and comprehensive way in the early 1990s. These local organizations had a causal effect on violence and their emergence should be seen alongside the expansion of police forces as one of the most important changes that took place in the 1990s.

- What about immigration and gentrification in cities? The neighborhoods where violence was most severe in the Seventies, Eighties, and Nineties were places where poverty was concentrated. They were deeply segregated by race. Many of these neighborhoods saw an influx of new residents, mostly from immigration. The dominant pattern of change was to shift from a majority African-American population to a more ethnically diverse population with new immigrant groups moving into segregated, very poor neighborhoods. These shifts played a role in revitalizing city neighborhoods and reducing violence. --- I also find in my research that the drop in violence helped bring about new shifts in population, particularly in high-poverty neighborhoods. But this is not the typical story about gentrification and the displacement of the poor. This is certainly a problem in some cities, but what has been much more common is that as a neighborhood becomes safer, it attracts new higher-income residents, with no evidence of poor residents moving out.

- Jane Jacobs had the famous idea that it’s people and their “eyes on the street” that make places safe. I think the “eyes on the street” concept is exactly right. But it’s not about the presence of people. It’s about who takes responsibility for public spaces: Who are the institutions in the neighborhoods that provide informal sources of authority, respect, trust? Who is looking out for the community to ensure that it stays safe and that kids and the elderly population are taken care of? --- That element has to be present; when it’s not present, that’s when things go downhill. The notion of the “community quarterback” comes from an organization called Purpose Built Communities, which tries to build a single institution that will be there for the long haul and develop a plan for change around that institution.

- In the early 1990s, close to half of the major cities across the country were intensely violent places. A very small segment of cities is now intensely violent. Most cities are no longer dangerous. So that’s the broad shift: from a situation where city life was associated with violence to a situation where violence is anomalous. There’s no longer that large-scale link between urban life and violence. --- But then there are these caveats. The rate of violence in Baltimore is now as high as it’s ever been. In places like Newark, the level of violence has never fallen. The homicide rate in New York City and Newark looked very similar 25 years ago. But it hasn’t changed at all in Newark and it’s plummeted in New York City. Cincinnati also hasn’t seen a fall in violence. There’s not one clear answer. You have the broad trend and you have the city-by-city reality. A lot of the cities where violence has not fallen have had major issues with corrupt city governments and police forces. They have been dysfunctional places, where the police department, the city, and community organizations do not work well or at all together.

- The decline in violence has not overturned or even reduced the level of urban inequality. What I argue is that it has changed the experience of urban inequality. The poorest Americans are now victimized at a rate that is roughly equivalent to what the richest Americans used to be victimized at. It’s also made urban poverty less persistent, less sticky. In the places where crime has fallen most, kids are more likely to rise up out of poverty when they reach adulthood. --- That said, it has not overturned the rise of inequality. We have to develop explicit policies to make sure that neighborhoods are shared by rich and poor, by all segments of the city population, that there is affordable housing that is developed and sustained in every neighborhood in the city. I think the drop in violence is the first step in making these kinds of changes possible, but it’s only the first step.

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Old Posted Jan 17, 2018, 2:43 PM
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My brother-in-law, a Sheriff from El Paso, TX, was in NYC for my wedding this past November and he kept asking me if it was safe to explore the city. I had to keep reminding him that NYC's murder rate is on par with Wyoming's and that in my 20 years here I've never felt unsafe. Sure there are parts of the city that you might want to avoid at night but they're typically not the places that a tourist might find themselves anyway.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 2:44 PM
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so basically city centers that have seen a mass influx of well to do gentrifiers have improved, poor cities continue to be violent and some suburbs are somewhere in between??? ok.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 4:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdawg View Post
My brother-in-law, a Sheriff from El Paso, TX, was in NYC for my wedding this past November and he kept asking me if it was safe to explore the city. I had to keep reminding him that NYC's murder rate is on par with Wyoming's and that in my 20 years here I've never felt unsafe. Sure there are parts of the city that you might want to avoid at night but they're typically not the places that a tourist might find themselves anyway.
We got married in NYC last winter, Park Lane hotel off Central Park. Last time my mother was in NYC was her honeymoon with my dad in 1976. She kept telling me to stay away from Central Park...had to remind her that the place changed some since Taxi Driver and they caught David Berkowitz.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 4:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JManc View Post
We got married in NYC last winter, Park Lane hotel off Central Park. Last time my mother was in NYC was her honeymoon with my dad in 1976. She kept telling me to stay away from Central Park...had to remind her that the place changed some since Taxi Driver and they caught David Berkowitz.
Pretty much every single over-50 person who has visited me in NYC has some variation of the "Is it safe" question. It's amazing. It will probably take a generation or two until it's universal knowledge that the city is safe.

And these aren't people hanging out in Brownsville at 3 AM. We're talking Middle American tourists visiting Times Square, Rock Center, the Met, the WTC and the like. It's bizarre. They should be more worried about the endless hordes of tourists.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 4:45 PM
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thus made me think maybe it is good big cities have high crime because people move away to smaller cities, then those cities become nice places sometimes. If there isn’t a lot of sprawl. It’s 2018 I think we can build buildings and stop building houses
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 4:47 PM
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Fake news! Our Exalted President Trump says there is a crime wave so why should we believe these so called facts over the bold words of our fearless leader. Everyone knows the FBI is out to get Trump so this data is clearly a fabrication.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 4:53 PM
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Who’s trump bro?

barron trump is a kid that’s a president. He would make a better present.

Last edited by dubu; Jan 19, 2018 at 5:08 PM.
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 5:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Pavlov's Dog View Post
Fake news! Our Exalted President Trump says there is a crime wave so why should we believe these so called facts over the bold words of our fearless leader. Everyone knows the FBI is out to get Trump so this data is clearly a fabrication.
Hillary Clinton was 100% responsible for the crime wave of the late 60s-90s. Donald Trump deserves all the credit for the precipitous drop in crime. He is really, really, really smart; believe me!
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Old Posted Jan 19, 2018, 7:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
Pretty much every single over-50 person who has visited me in NYC has some variation of the "Is it safe" question. It's amazing. It will probably take a generation or two until it's universal knowledge that the city is safe.

And these aren't people hanging out in Brownsville at 3 AM. We're talking Middle American tourists visiting Times Square, Rock Center, the Met, the WTC and the like. It's bizarre. They should be more worried about the endless hordes of tourists.
LA has the same issues. People who dont live here mention "too many gangs in LA". I always correct them that I've never seen any since I've been here in 4 years. And I go all over the city.

I'm sure they exist, but their visbility has declined in a major way, according to others who remember the 80s or 90s.
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