betacity


crime in America
July 6, 2011, 10:31 pm
Filed under: betaCITY, Cities, fear | Tags: , , , ,

Crime is down in American cities and everyone is wondering why.  It’s a headlining story because the usual bug-a-boos – abortion, race, economic hardship, the big bad city – are resisting blame.  The new idea – one that is gaining traction even in face of a culture of fear mongering – is that diversity, of all things, leads to less crime.

This suggests that our tendency to separate – classes, races, ages, hobbyists – in our urban environments leads to increased crime.  In no uncertain terms, we have made a fine art of segregating in the way we live:  ghettos for races, retirees, the poor, golfers, airplane enthusiasts, nudists, factory workers, the rich, and on and on.

This is all very bad news for suprematists, border guards and anti immigration pundits.  But for people who live in cities, it’s good news on the crime front.

At the end of his article, Florida makes what at first seems to be a facile observation: that people are happier when there’s less crime in their neighborhoods.  That’s easy to believe; but consider this:  that also, by implication, people are happier in places that are more diverse.  Even more reason to vilify and ditch planning practices that encourage ghettoisation of any kind.

Here is the excerpt from Florida’s article:

It might be hard to wrap your mind around this–especially with all the demagoguery about immigration. But the numbers tell a different story than our alarmist pundits and politicians do. “Since 1990, all types of communities within the country’s largest metro areas have become more diverse,” Elizabeth Kneebone, one of the authors of the Brookings report, wrote in The New Republic. “Crime fell fastest in big cities and high-density suburbs that were poorer, more minority, and had higher crime rates to begin with. At the same time, all kinds of suburbs saw their share of poor, minority, and foreign-born residents increase. As suburbia diversified, crime rates fell.” Along with their entrepreneurial energy and their zeal to succeed, immigrants are good neighbors–cultural and economic factors that militate against criminal behavior, and not just in their own enclaves but in surrounding communities as well.

/…/

the Gallup research identifies openness to diversity as being one of the two most important factors that shape city happiness and community satisfaction across the board.

Why Crime is Down in America’s Cities, Richard Florida, The Atlantic Monthly

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