After tracking one another closely for decades, the U.S. robbery rate increased and the burglary rate declined in the late 1980s. The authors investigate the impact of crack on this divergence using a two-stage hierarchical linear model that decomposes between-and within-city variation in crime rates for 142 cities. Given its prominence in discussions of crack and criminal violence, homicide offending is also examined. Net of other influences, cities with higher levels of crack use experienced larger increases in robbery and decreases in burglary. Cities with greater levels of crack had higher homicide rates but did not show more rapid increases in these rates than other cities. The results suggest that the emergence and proliferation of crack shifted the balance of urban offending opportunities and rewards from burglary to robbery.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology