Segregated spatial locations, race-ethnic composition, and neighborhood violent crime

Ruth D. Peterson, Lauren J. Krivo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


How can we understand the dramatic linkages among race, ethnicity, place, and violence in the United States? One contention is that differences in violence across communities of varying race-ethnic compositions are rooted in highly differentiated social and economic circumstances of the segregated neighborhoods inhabited by whites, African Americans, Latinos, and other groups. Here, the authors draw upon and expand this perspective by exploring how inequality in the character of internal and nearby neighborhood conditions leads to patterned racial and ethnic differences in violence across areas. Using data from the National Neighborhood Crime Study to examine the racial-spatial dynamic of violence for neighborhoods in thirty-six U.S. cities, the authors demonstrate that along with the social and economic conditions that exist within neighborhoods, proximity to more disadvantaged and especially racially privileged (heavily white) areas is particularly critical in accounting for the large and visible differences in violence found across neighborhoods of different colors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-107
Number of pages15
JournalAnnals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Sociology and Political Science


  • Crime
  • Neighborhood violence
  • Race/ethnicity
  • Spatial location effects


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