Research has proven that crime, particularly violent crime, clusters in discreet, neighborhood hotspots. In an op-ed for The Marshall Project, Maurice Jones, LISC CEO, and Julia Ryan, director of safety programming, explain how that knowledge should guide our crime-fighting strategies and why investments in neighborhoods are critical to stopping violence.
The excerpt below was originally published on The Marshall Project:
Crime Hotspots Need Investments, Not Just Policing
By Maurice Jones and Julia Ryan
On the last day of 2016, a solemn procession made its way across Chicago. Hundreds of mourners and their supporters marched together, carrying 762 wooden crosses — one for each victim of the year’s terrible homicide toll.
Had the marchers ended the demonstration by planting those crosses at the site of each murder, they would have clustered in a few areas of the sprawling city, creating a haphazard array of miniature cemeteries. This is because many of those homicides, 90 percent of them shootings, occurred on a handful of blocks, in a handful of neighborhoods.
The hyper-local nature of crime, violent crime in particular, is a revelation to very few in the law enforcement community. Indeed, any cop worthy of the badge keeps track of the usual suspects and trouble areas in the neighborhoods he or she serves. Only recently, however, are we beginning to seriously question how that knowledge informs our response to crime. And, while many in the “law and order” crowd use place-based data to support raids, sweeps and other targeted policing, new research suggest it's community development efforts — layered onto smart policing — that actually bring about lasting reductions in crime.
New research is establishing how most shootings and other violent crimes occur at “hotspots,” or on certain city blocks. In Boston, for instance, Yale University sociologists documented that 50 percent of gun crimes were carried out on less than three percent of blocks in particular neighborhoods. An analysis by our organization, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation, found a similar trend in Chicago: half of the most serious crimes occurred on just seven percent of blocks. Continued[+]...
This report presents and analyzes three examples of successful, cooperative crime prevention efforts supported by LISC, finding as much as a 41 percent decline in crime incidents compared to what they would have been without the coordinated, multi-sector strategy.