METROPOLITAN STRUCTURE AND CRIMINAL VIOLENCE

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Abstract

This article re-examines the conclusions of an earlier paper (Blau and Blau. 1982);i.e., that racial inequality in metropolitan places increases criminal violence and is accountable for various factors to which this violence is often attributed, notably poverty, race, and the Southern subculture of violence. The replication confirms the basic original hypothesis that a Standard Metropolitan Statistical Area's (SMSA) racial inequality in socioeconomic status raises its rates of violent crime. This article also supports the earlier findings that rates of criminal violence are higher in larger SMSAs and in SMSAs with a great number of marital conflicts and disruptions (as indicated by the large proportion of divorced and separated), and that these rates are unrelated to an SMSA's poverty level once other conditions are controlled. However, when interaction effects and curvilinear relationships are taken into consideration, criminal violence is seen to depend considerably on an SMSA's racial composition and to be more prevalent in SMSAs with a largely Southern population than in others, which supports the thesis of a Southern subculture of violence.

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