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Living on the Edge: Neighborhood Boundaries and the Spatial Dynamics of Violent Crime

Joscha Legewie ()
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Joscha Legewie: Harvard University

Demography, 2018, vol. 55, issue 5, 1957-1977

Abstract: Abstract Neighborhood boundaries are a defining aspect of highly segregated urban areas. Yet, few studies examine the particular challenges and spatial processes that occur at the bordering region between two neighborhoods. Extending the growing literature on spatial interdependence, this article argues that neighborhood boundaries—defined as sharp changes in the racial or socioeconomic composition of neighborhoods—are a salient feature of the spatial structure with implications for violent crime and other outcomes. Boundaries lack the social control and cohesion of adjacent homogeneous areas, are contested between groups provoking intergroup conflict, and create opportunities for criminal behavior. This article presents evidence linking racial neighborhood boundaries to increased violent crime. The findings illustrate the importance of neighborhood boundaries for our understanding of spatial dimensions of population dynamics above and beyond the characteristics of neighborhoods.

Keywords: Neighborhoods; Neighborhood boundaries; Crime; Segregation; Spatial inequality (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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