Social Support, Inequality, and Violent Crime

Timothy W. Godsey, University of Cincinnati
Travis C. Pratt, Rutgers University

The social support (also known as social altruism) perspective in criminological theory has begun to emerge as a potentially important explanation of aggregate levels of crime. Recent studies have tested the theory's ability to predict levels of property crimes, yet formal tests of the theory using violent offenses as the dependent variable have not been conducted. This article draws on insights from social support theory in a cross-national context. Consistent with social support theory, the analyses show that, net of statistical controls, (1) measures of social support are inversely related to rates of violent crime (measured by homicides), and (2) measures of social support significantly condition the effect of inequality on violent crime.

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Updated 05/20/2006