What Effect Does Gentrification Have on Crime

Updated February 11, 2022

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What Effect Does Gentrification Have on Crime essay

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Gentrification has been a vital issue in architecture and most importantly, and it has risen debates about its effects on the rate of crime. Gentrification is the process by which houses are renovated or improved to fit into the middle-class standards. Gentrification has had positive and negative effects on crime, especially in the restored neighborhoods. Some argue that gentrification has led to an increasing rate in crime since the high-end middle class poses for the best targets. However, other researchers have demonstrated that crime has reduced since most middle-income earners hardly steal from one another. Hence, the effects of gentrification on the crime rate has been controversial

Prior on looking the effects that gentrification has on crime rate, it is vital to look at the causes of gentrification. The primary known purpose of gentrification is when the wealthy and the high-earning people move to a low urban area and cause the cost of properties to rise, rate increase and the original way of life of people changes. Increase in population has also been a causative agent to the Gentrification due to the rise in demand for housing which is synonymous to increase in demand for land. Hence, explains since it is not possible to create new residential areas by recycling the old ones — immigration in search of employment.

The people transform the poor areas to desirable neighborhoods which lead to gentrification. Low rents attract investors to invest in poor areas which translates to an increase in the value of properties. The beauty of these areas also makes them a target for the middle class especially those who appreciate the old architectural designs since the poor don’t understand their artistic nature hence leading to gentrification. Due to these causes, gentrification has had several effects on the cost of property, crime, and change in culture.

It is evident that a change in the composition of a particular neighborhood has affected crime. While some effects on crime have been positive in other regions, have registered adverse impacts. A city like Cambridge claimed to have had a 16% drop in crime rate after gentrification (Bogges & Hipp, 2016). It has been argued by some criminologist that one way of reducing the rate of crime is by allowing the rich and the poor to live adjacent to each other since crime is contagious. Therefore, a place with affluent people who register no criminal tendencies is likely to influence adjacent neighborhood with such tendencies.

Additionally, the middle class can afford good security services. Hence, there are chances to have a lower crime rate, and those who argue for fewer crime rates after gentrification make the above claim. Further, they argue that economic integration whereby the rich and poor alike live close together contributes to safer cities especially since there is a need for cheap labor, hence, the poor can earn income from the rich, and they will not have any reasons to steal or cause any crime whatsoever.

According to a research conducted by MIT, the crime rate in Cambridge reduced after the end of rent control which led to substantial economic gains as the price of properties rose, and great amenities were invested in the city. According to researchers, the crime rate of violent crimes also reduced since it was vital for the city residents and resulted to huge crime rates which compelled researchers to look into the reasons why the crime rates dropped (Boggess & Hipp, 2016).

One of the reasons was that there was a disruption in the strong social networks, they further out more weight on this by citing Chicago as a perfect case study after it demolished public houses and the native residents were scattered all over and resulted to the drop of crime. Additionally, the new residents installed better security systems to their property which led to a decline in property crimes. Furthermore, the crime rate is likely to reduce after gentrification or in the process thereof, after the law enforcement was strengthened and made more effective by using existing data to strategically place the police stations where the crimes were originating from which resulted to the closure of non-clandestine drug markets which were the source of violent crimes.

Gentrification also influences systematic and comprehensive ways to deal with crimes and violence through mobilizing residents and organizations to retake social places such as alleys, parks and city blocks which contributes to a decrease in crime rates. Immigration which is also among the leading cause of gentrification has also led to the decline in crime rates. Most poor neighborhoods have a high concentration of African-Americans who have been associated with violence and crime. However, in the event of immigration, there is racial diversity which revitalizes the poor city neighborhoods, and the crime rate is reduced.

As such, some researchers think that gentrification has led to an increase in the crime rate (Shaw& Hagemans, 2015). Some of them cite that after displacement of the original residents of poor areas, they move to worse neighborhoods. Hence, these environments make it conducive to commit crimes since security measures put in place are dilapidated. Another reason why gentrification has resulted in higher crime rates is that of the high-end investments in the new area. Such lavish, exquisite investments will make a perfect target for property crimes to be on the rise compared to personal crimes. Cross-cultural differences as a result of gentrification was another cause of crime, mainly personal crimes. A dissatisfaction in how another leads their lives different from the rest of the population is likely to lead to personal violence.

Gentrification has had its positive and negative effects on crime. However, what is evident is that the increase in criminal activities after gentrification is short lived. Thus, it will be inconclusive and certainly inaccurate to conclude that gentrification leads to a rise in crime rates. What is certain is that crime increases for a while then shows a decrease which has been explained by crime theories such as the social disorganization theory, which stipulates that destabilization and the turnover of population in certain areas leads to the increase in crime rate(Hwang & Sampson, 2015). The cracking of social networks in the neighborhood creates instability, and there are high levels of formal social control which leads to a high crime rate. Regardless, there have been questions that have been raised. One such issue is whether the amount of crime has decreased or is it the nature of crime has changed, which has led to more complex debates around tables.

In conclusion, gentrification is caused by factors such as the increase in population, immigration, low rent, search for places with beautiful views as well as the search for employment. Such causes have risen debate to the effect of gentrification on crime levels which has raised such as a controversy, with many scholars contesting architectures’ views that it results to the reduced crime rates. Some have argued that it has led to an increased rate of criminal activities and only the nature of the criminal activities has changed. However, I opine that it has led to a decrease in crime rates due to the presence of efficient law enforcers and better security systems installed by the affluent dwellers.

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What Effect Does Gentrification Have on Crime. (2022, Feb 11). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/what-effect-does-gentrification-have-on-crime/


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