Does Living in a Violent Neighborhood Increase Offenders' Use of Violence?

Jennifer Castro, University of Maryland at College Park

ABSTRACT
This study examines the structural effect of living in a violent neighborhood on offender use of violence while controlling for other measures of neighborhood strain and disorganization. Using official arrest records from Prince George's County, Maryland, offender residence is mapped to 1990 census tracts, which are in turn characterized by measures of neighborhood violence, poverty, residential instability, single-parent households, etc. All neighborhood variables are treated as exogenous factors in a structural equation model that examines their macro-level effects on individual offenders' accumulation of violent arrests over a ten-year time span. Results are presented for all offenders in the sample (N=841) and for each race and gender subgroup.

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Updated 05/20/2006