Urban Crime in the U.S.
Many graduates of criminal justice programs may be employed in a city when pursuing a career in law enforcement. As an area of study for many who acquire a bachelors in criminal justice degree online, the issue involving urban crime is a topic of much conversation, as for the first time ever, more people now live in cities than in rural areas. Because urban locations have much greater population densities than suburban or rural places, the occurrence of crime is much greater.
Crime statistics for 2010: The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) reports that crime decreased significantly from 1990-2008 in the 100 largest urban areas in the country. The gap between urban and suburban crime has been closing fast, although large cities are still areas with the highest rates of violent crime due to their large populations.
Geographical problems associated with crime: Crime rates can increase due to increased levels of homelessness and poverty in cities, especially in neighborhoods that suffer from cultural and socioeconomic problems. Since many of these locations are also subject to extreme population densities, the amount of crime in a small area can affect the entire community greatly.
Urban disorder leading to crime: Some experts believe that social and physical disorder in urban neighborhoods can lead to an increase in crimes. Certain acts, such as broken windows and the widespread use of graffiti, may be linked to crimes such as robbery, but not homicide, according to research provided by the National Institute of Justice.
Consequences of urban crime: When crime occurs in metropolitan areas, it can give these cities notoriety among the public. Certain cities, such as New York, may still be considered hives of crime and despair even though in recent years crime has fallen considerably in these locations.
Crime and urban poverty: One of the largest issues that those with criminal justice and criminology degrees may encounter is that areas of significantly low income can be more susceptible to high crime rates.
Decreasing urban crime: Petersburg, West Virginia, formerly a city of 30,000 people that held the most crime per capita, experienced a quick decrease in crime after 2008. The drop was said to have been caused by improvement in public safety and an increased effort from many public groups, including the town’s police, which created an officer accountability system. Criminology degree seekers may want to use this case as an example of reducing crime in urban environments.
Steps to reduce crime in urban locations
Solutions to urban crime: Poverty is not the sole indication of whether or not crime will be high in an urban sector, as crime can occur anywhere and eradicating poverty will not rid society of it. Solutions that may lower crime may be studied in a criminal justice or criminology program and can include such procedures as getting communities to interact with one another more frequently.
Street barriers and urban crime reduction: Street barriers, placed in strategic locations in urban environments such as housing developments, can help decrease certain types of crime. This is due to the barrier’s effect of cutting off points of escape for criminals.
The Obama-Biden Plan: President Barack Obama, along with Vice President Joe Biden, created an initiative to help deal with poverty-stricken urban areas in the U.S. Part of this plan is to create stronger neighborhood groups through the Community Development Block Grant, a program that creates housing and jobs for low-income families.
Urban locations in the U.S.
Statistics by city: While many cities have experienced major reductions in crime, people still hold a certain fear of large population centers that may be due to media portrayal and popular culture. The Atlantic reports that crime in urban centers has recently dropped to its lowest levels in 40 years.
Portland, Oregon: Compared to the U.S. average, Portland, Oregon experiences less rates of violent crime, according to a 2010 report. The rates have been declining steadily since a peak in 1994.
New York City: Although New York is the largest city in the country, it is much safer statistically than many smaller urban areas. The homicide rate in New York has dropped down to 536 instances in 2010, compared to 2,262 in 1990.
Los Angeles: The crime rate in Los Angeles County has dropped in the last five years, with less instances of crime in all categories, including violent cases.
Detroit: According to The Atlantic, Detroit is the second most dangerous city in the U.S. as of 2011. The media outlet reports that the metropolis currently has the sixth-highest rate of murder and the second-highest occurrences of aggravated assault.
New Orleans: New Orleans experienced a spike in violent crimes after Hurricane Katrina, but also an influx in non-violent crimes, such as robbery.