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Neighborhoods and Violent Crime

Violent crime causes negative impacts on individuals, their families, friends, residents, and neighborhoods. Violent crimes can ruin people’s health and growth and also affect the development of communities as they reduce properties in neighborhoods more than how property crime does. Research shows a drop in violent crimes in the United States over the past 20 years, with the largest decline in disadvantaged communities. Violent crime has power in defining neighborhoods, and a study on several neighborhoods shows that violent crime, such as robbery, predicts how neighborhood residents perceive crime. Characteristics of neighborhoods, such as social capital and trust, determine the level of violent crime. Americans believe crime is still high despite data showing a decline in violent crimes.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations, National Crime Victimization, and National Vital Statistics System are major sources of crime data. They all provide data that indicates a decline in violent crime in the U.S. However, property crime was at a higher level than violent crimes in the U.S in 2019. 2109.9 property crimes per 100,000 people were reported by the FBI, while only 379.4 violent crimes were reported in the same year (Gramlich, 2020). According to FBI data, violent crimes between 1993 and 2019 dropped by 49%, with a 68% drop in robbery, 47% in manslaughter, and 43% in aggravated assault. Theories that try to explain the decline in violent crimes consider the aging population, growth of income, and high levels of consumer confidence, among other aspects, as contributing factors to the decline.

According to data provided by the National Neighborhood Crime Study, neighborhoods with more than 70% of African-American residents have five times as many violent crimes as neighborhoods resided by whites. Neighborhoods with Latin residents also have higher violent crime rates than communities with whites. Research shows that violent crimes in neighborhoods occur in segments or within narrow social networks, which means that victims and crime offenders may be from the same social group. A neighborhood’s characteristics can be a crime’s primary cause or result. Such characteristics include but are not limited to poverty, segregation, income inequality, residential instability, and job access (Sackett, 2016). Neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and income inequality have high rates of violent crimes. These characteristics relate to the neighborhood’s ability to access resources such as institutions and solve problems that increase crime rates.

Violent crimes adversely affect neighborhood residents and their friends and families. For example, when people migrate from a neighborhood with high violent crime rates to one with low or no crime rates, there is a significant change in their health and social skills as they will not be afraid of going outside. Generally, violent crimes adversely affect residents’ psychological, academic, social, and physical well-being (Sackett, 2016). Children brought up in more violent neighborhoods have poor academic performances and may also commit violent crimes in the future. Additionally, neighborhoods with increased violent crimes may accept coercive sexual behaviors, which will affect young adults in the community leading to drug abuse or psychological torture.

In conclusion, violent crimes in neighborhoods adversely affect residents. Despite huge drops in violent and property crime rates in the U.S, Americans still believe that crime exists at high levels. Violent crimes are a result of a neighborhood’s characteristics. Neighborhoods with a majority of Latinos or African-American residents have more cases of violent crimes than neighborhoods with whites. A decline in violent crimes over the past years has led to social progress and economic gains.


Gramlich, J. (2020, November 20). What the data says (and doesn’t say) about crime in the United States. Retrieved from

Sackett, C. (2016). Neighborhoods and violent crimes.


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