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In recent years, crime and public housing have been closely linked in our political and popular cultures. Tragic episodes of violence have reinforced the notion that public housing is a milieu with rates of victimization and offending far greater than other locales. However, these recent developments belie the complex social and political evolution of public housing from its origins in the 1930s, through urban renewal, and into the present.

Stereotypes abound about public housing, its management, residents, and crime rates. In reality, variation is the norm, and it is these variations that affect crime. The study of crime in public housing is in its earliest phase, and there is much to learn. A few studies suggest that crime rates are higher in public housing complexes than in their immediate surroundings; other studies suggest quite the opposite. Still others suggest a process of diffusion and exchange of violent crimes between public housing and the surrounding neighborhood contexts.


Criminal Law | Criminology | Criminology and Criminal Justice | Housing Law | Law


The Scholarship Archive gratefully acknowledges the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, National Institute of Justice, for allowing us to reproduce, in part or in whole, the article, "Crime in Public Housing: Clarifying Research Issues." The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this video are those of the speaker(s) and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.