Urban revitalization and Seattle crime, 1982-2000

Derek Allen Kreager, Christopher J. Lyons, Zachary R. Hays

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study examines the relationship between crime and processes of urban revitalization, or gentrification. Drawing on recent urban demography research, we hypothesize that gentrification progressed rapidly in many American cities over the last decade of the twentieth century, and that these changes had implications for area crime rates. Criminological theories hold competing hypotheses for the connections between gentrification and crime, and quantitative studies of this link remain infrequent and limited. Using two measures of gentrification and longitudinal tract-level demographic and crime data for the city of Seattle, we find that many of Seattle's downtown tracts underwent rapid revitalization during the 1990s, and that these areas (1) saw reductions in crime relative to similar tracts that did not gentrify, and (2) were areas with higher-than-average crime at the beginning of the decade. Moreover, using a within-tract longitudinal design, we find that yearly housing investments in the 1980s showed a modest positive association with crime change, while yearly investments in the 1990s showed the opposite pattern. Our findings suggest a curvilinear gentrification-crime relationship, whereby gentrification in its earlier stages is associated with small increases in crime, but gentrification in its more consolidated form is associated with modest crime declines. Implications of these results for criminological theory, urban development, and broader crime patterns are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)615-639
Number of pages25
JournalSocial Problems
Volume58
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2011

Fingerprint

gentrification
offense
crime rate
demography
city center
urban development
twentieth century
housing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

Cite this

Kreager, Derek Allen ; Lyons, Christopher J. ; Hays, Zachary R. / Urban revitalization and Seattle crime, 1982-2000. In: Social Problems. 2011 ; Vol. 58, No. 4. pp. 615-639.
@article{2cda277b05364ffbb2a1ffa59fa31805,
title = "Urban revitalization and Seattle crime, 1982-2000",
abstract = "This study examines the relationship between crime and processes of urban revitalization, or gentrification. Drawing on recent urban demography research, we hypothesize that gentrification progressed rapidly in many American cities over the last decade of the twentieth century, and that these changes had implications for area crime rates. Criminological theories hold competing hypotheses for the connections between gentrification and crime, and quantitative studies of this link remain infrequent and limited. Using two measures of gentrification and longitudinal tract-level demographic and crime data for the city of Seattle, we find that many of Seattle's downtown tracts underwent rapid revitalization during the 1990s, and that these areas (1) saw reductions in crime relative to similar tracts that did not gentrify, and (2) were areas with higher-than-average crime at the beginning of the decade. Moreover, using a within-tract longitudinal design, we find that yearly housing investments in the 1980s showed a modest positive association with crime change, while yearly investments in the 1990s showed the opposite pattern. Our findings suggest a curvilinear gentrification-crime relationship, whereby gentrification in its earlier stages is associated with small increases in crime, but gentrification in its more consolidated form is associated with modest crime declines. Implications of these results for criminological theory, urban development, and broader crime patterns are discussed.",
author = "Kreager, {Derek Allen} and Lyons, {Christopher J.} and Hays, {Zachary R.}",
year = "2011",
month = "11",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1525/sp.2011.58.4.615",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "58",
pages = "615--639",
journal = "Social Problems",
issn = "0037-7791",
publisher = "University of California Press",
number = "4",

}

Urban revitalization and Seattle crime, 1982-2000. / Kreager, Derek Allen; Lyons, Christopher J.; Hays, Zachary R.

In: Social Problems, Vol. 58, No. 4, 01.11.2011, p. 615-639.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

TY - JOUR

T1 - Urban revitalization and Seattle crime, 1982-2000

AU - Kreager, Derek Allen

AU - Lyons, Christopher J.

AU - Hays, Zachary R.

PY - 2011/11/1

Y1 - 2011/11/1

N2 - This study examines the relationship between crime and processes of urban revitalization, or gentrification. Drawing on recent urban demography research, we hypothesize that gentrification progressed rapidly in many American cities over the last decade of the twentieth century, and that these changes had implications for area crime rates. Criminological theories hold competing hypotheses for the connections between gentrification and crime, and quantitative studies of this link remain infrequent and limited. Using two measures of gentrification and longitudinal tract-level demographic and crime data for the city of Seattle, we find that many of Seattle's downtown tracts underwent rapid revitalization during the 1990s, and that these areas (1) saw reductions in crime relative to similar tracts that did not gentrify, and (2) were areas with higher-than-average crime at the beginning of the decade. Moreover, using a within-tract longitudinal design, we find that yearly housing investments in the 1980s showed a modest positive association with crime change, while yearly investments in the 1990s showed the opposite pattern. Our findings suggest a curvilinear gentrification-crime relationship, whereby gentrification in its earlier stages is associated with small increases in crime, but gentrification in its more consolidated form is associated with modest crime declines. Implications of these results for criminological theory, urban development, and broader crime patterns are discussed.

AB - This study examines the relationship between crime and processes of urban revitalization, or gentrification. Drawing on recent urban demography research, we hypothesize that gentrification progressed rapidly in many American cities over the last decade of the twentieth century, and that these changes had implications for area crime rates. Criminological theories hold competing hypotheses for the connections between gentrification and crime, and quantitative studies of this link remain infrequent and limited. Using two measures of gentrification and longitudinal tract-level demographic and crime data for the city of Seattle, we find that many of Seattle's downtown tracts underwent rapid revitalization during the 1990s, and that these areas (1) saw reductions in crime relative to similar tracts that did not gentrify, and (2) were areas with higher-than-average crime at the beginning of the decade. Moreover, using a within-tract longitudinal design, we find that yearly housing investments in the 1980s showed a modest positive association with crime change, while yearly investments in the 1990s showed the opposite pattern. Our findings suggest a curvilinear gentrification-crime relationship, whereby gentrification in its earlier stages is associated with small increases in crime, but gentrification in its more consolidated form is associated with modest crime declines. Implications of these results for criminological theory, urban development, and broader crime patterns are discussed.

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=81255201447&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=81255201447&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1525/sp.2011.58.4.615

DO - 10.1525/sp.2011.58.4.615

M3 - Article

C2 - 25505350

AN - SCOPUS:81255201447

VL - 58

SP - 615

EP - 639

JO - Social Problems

JF - Social Problems

SN - 0037-7791

IS - 4

ER -