Violence and Neighborhood Disadvantage after the Crime Decline

Michael Friedson, Patrick Sharkey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Violent crime is known to be concentrated in the same urban neighborhoods as poverty and other forms of disadvantage. While U.S. violent crime has declined at an unprecedented rate over the past two decades, little is known about the spatial distribution of this decline within cities. Using longitudinal neighborhood crime data from six U.S. cities during the national crime decline, this article examines changes in (1) crime rates of neighborhoods grouped by their initial crime levels, poverty rates, and racial/ethnic makeups; (2) the neighborhood exposure to violence of urban residents classified by race/ethnicity and poverty status; and (3) the relative distribution of violent crime across urban neighborhoods. We find that crime levels declined the most in the initially most violent and disadvantaged neighborhoods and that exposure to violence fell the most among disadvantaged urban residents. Nonetheless, crime remained concentrated in cities’ initially most violent and disadvantaged locales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)341-358
Number of pages18
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 12 2015


  • concentrated disadvantage
  • crime decline
  • neighborhood change
  • urban inequality
  • violent crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • General Social Sciences


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