Crime and Poverty in the Delta

Jeff Walker, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Amy C. VanHouton, University of Arkansas - Little Rock

Much has been written over the years concerning the relationship between crime and some measure of economic deprivation (commonly measured as poverty). More recently, the U.S. Congress and the legislatures of several states along the lower Mississippi River have begun to focus attention and funds on the economic conditions of this area. A serious problem for crime and poverty research has been, and remains, that many of the poorest people and areas of the country have very low crime rates. The present research examines crime and economic conditions in nine counties in the Mississippi River delta region of Arkansas as they compare to three other control groups of counties in the State. The primary expectation of the research is that the degree of ruralness interacts positively with economic conditions in explaining crime. Economic conditions in primarily rural areas are not as strongly related to crime as the same level of conditions in more urbanized areas. Implications for policy and government assistance decisions will also be discussed.

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Updated 05/20/2006