Neighborhood Structure and Race-Specific Rates of Intimate Assault

Amy Thistlethwaite, Northern Kentucky University
John Wooldredge, University of Cincinnati

Wilson (1987) and Sampson and Wilson (1995) suggest that higher violent crime rates for blacks compared to whites may not be due to cultural differences between predominantly black and predominantly white neighborhoods, but instead may be due to differences in the structural characteristics of communities aside from racial composition, in which they reside. If their thesis is correct, then the effects of neighborhood disadvantage, instability, and age structure on rates of violence by blacks should be at least as strong as those effects on rates for whites, while neighborhood racial composition should maintain the same effect on either rate. We apply this thesis to an understanding of differences in race-specific rates of assault on intimates by adult males in Hamilton County (Cincinnati), Ohio. Miles-Doan (1998) demonstrated the relevance of neighborhood structural effects on rates of intimate assault in Duval County, Florida. We extend the approach of Miles-Doan in order to test the ideas of Wilson and Sampson.

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Updated 05/20/2006