INTEGRATING RACE, PLACE AND MOTIVE IN SOCIAL DISORGANIZATION THEORY: LESSONS FROM A COMPARISON OF BLACK AND LATINO HOMICIDE TYPES IN TWO IMMIGRANT DESTINATION CITIES*

Authors

  • AMIE L. NIELSEN,

    1. Associate professor of sociology at the University of Miami. Her research focuses on the interrelationships between race/ethnicity, immigration, alcohol and violence at both individual and community levels.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • MATTHEW T. LEE,

    1. Assistant professor of sociology and fellow at the Center for Conflict Management at the University of Akron. His research focuses on immigration and violence, and on organizational deviance. He is author of Crime on the Border: Immigration and Homicide in Urban Communities.
    Search for more papers by this author
  • RAMIRO MARTINEZ JR.

    1. Associate professor in criminal justice and public health at Florida International University and a member of the National Hispanic Science Network on Drug Abuse and the National Consortium on Violence Research. He recently received the American Sociological Association Latina/o Section Award for Distinguished Contribution to Research. He is author of Latino Homicide: Immigration, Violence, and Community (Routledge, 2002) and numerous articles on lethal violence. He is also the principal investigator of a NIDA funded project examining the spatial distribution of drug-related mortality in Miami-Dade County and drug-related non-lethal violence in the city of Miami, Florida.
    Search for more papers by this author

  • *

    Acknowledgements: An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2004 Annual Meeting of the American Society of Criminology. The authors thank the anonymous reviewers and Ray Paternoster for helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article. We also thank the City of Miami Police Department and City of San Diego Police Department for access to the homicide data. Funding was provided, in part, to the third author from the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation and the National Science Foundation under Grant No. SES-0215551 and SBR-9513040 to the National Consortium on Violence Research (YR3–TSRP1). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of any funding agency or police department. Direct correspondence to Amie L. Nielsen, Department of Sociology, University of Miami, P.O. Box 248162, Coral Gables, FL 33124; Phone: (305) 284–6158; Fax: (305) 284–5310; e-mail: nielsen@miami.edu.

Abstract

In this paper, we examine and compare the impact of social disorganization, including recent immigration, and other predictors on community counts of black and Latino motive-specific homicides in Miami and San Diego. Homicides for 1985 to 1995 are disaggregated into escalation, intimate, robbery and drug-related motives. Negative binomial regression models with corrections for spatial autocorrelation demonstrate that there are similarities and differences in effects of social disorganization and other predictors by motive-specific outcomes, as well as for outcomes across ethnic groups within cities and within ethnic groups across cities. Recent immigration is negatively or not associated with most outcomes. Overall, the study shows the importance of disaggregating homicide data by race/ethnicity and motive and demonstrates that predictions based on existing theories are qualified on local conditions.

Ancillary