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Thread: Perceptions of crime and poverty in major metro areas v smaller cities and communitie

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Perceptions of crime and poverty in major metro areas v smaller cities and communitie

    It is a common perception, maybe a misperception, that crime and poverty rates are higher in urban areas. But is this true, and if it is, why? Is it because of the increased amount of transportation, health care, and employment possibilities? Additionally, what may pass for acceptable property maintenance conditions in larger urban areas are completely unacceptable in smaller communities? Why donít cities have the funding necessary to provide the same level of service and quality of living standards as many of the smaller communities? Or do they?
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

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    I think it's very hard to generalize. There are very poor, very violent small metro areas and relatively safe big "cities" (San Jose, CA comes to mind-hence "cities" is in quotes.) Is it only or primarily economics? The stats I've seen suggest that many economically stagnant, relatively poor smaller metro areas in some northeastern states have low crime rates (Wilkes-Barre, PA comes to mind) As for standards of proeprty maintenance-there are plenty of ramshackle small cities that have not seen much gentrification at all and look pretty beaten down. Most smaller Indiana industrial towns, for example (Marion, Indiana, anyone).

    I think many smaller metro areas are more "settled." Note that the highest crime rates tend to be in booming sunbelt metro areas with lots of strangers moving in and out. Miami, for example, is not the only Florida metro with a very high crime rate.

    The bottom line: more people, more people problems.

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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Have you been reading the new issue of the Next American City?

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    Cyburbian michaelskis's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Wanigas?
    Have you been reading the new issue of the Next American City?
    No, but thinks for the link. Looks like some of my questions may be answered and new questions will be formed!
    Not my monkey, not my circus. - Old Polish Proverb

  5. #5
    Back when I worked for the City of Boston, we were trying to persuade a group to have their event in Copley Square. They replied that too many of their members were scared of crime to go into the city. For those of you unfamiliar with Boston, Copley Square is where the Boston Marathon ends and is about a block from the local Neiman Marcus - the only danger there is the bad fountain, a couple of skateboarders and camera flashes from tourists.

    Never the less, there are millions of US people terrified of any and all cities. Ironically, there was a study done a couple years ago that found the risk of dying in a car accident in the suburbs was greater than the risk of dying from random violence in the city.

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    Cyburbian btrage's avatar
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    It's also important to look at crime rates per capita, and not overall crime level.

    Another issue is the local media outlets. We are all well aware that most local television stations usually open their news hour with the most recent homicide or robbery. That's the news that sells. However, when the guy in the neighboring suburb is constantly bombarded by this type of news coverage, it is only inevitable that he begins to believe the hype.

    As for property maintenance, larger urban areas often have bigger fish to fry. Although this may be unfortunate, when someone decides to live in a more dense, urban environment, they must be aware of this. And I think for the most part, those that choose to live in larger urban centers are more likely to put up with things that some suburban residents may not.
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  7. #7
    [QUOTE=btrage] Another issue is the local media outlets. QUOTE]

    Good point, that compounded by the "more people more problems" generates the crime, taking it one step further is that when you have more people in that close of a proximity you have differing social demographics (race, economics), the other differing factors don't play as much of a role on crime, such as viewpoints on religion, sexual preference, politics (govt. out to get people, etc.).
    With that said, I think that even how well an area is taken care of plays a role in crime, dilapidated buildings, trash, lack of street lighting, overgrown foilage, general lack of upkeep and even the condition of the streets/sidewalks and right of way can be partially to blame. I think that these things attract crime to an extent.
    "If it looks like trash, then it will attract and promote trash"
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    Cyburbian Wannaplan?'s avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    No, but thinks for the link. Looks like some of my questions may be answered and new questions will be formed!
    Maybe this link will help, too: Why Do the Poor Live in Cities?.

    A second "underlying force attracting the poor to cities are more redistributive government policies," such as housing subsidies, social services, and other transfers. They also find a sorting effect there. The paper concludes by echoing the arguments of Kain and his colleagues in the 1960s that transportation, especially public transit, is an important policy tool for influencing income sorting across space (as are jurisdictional boundaries associated with differential redistributional policies).

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    Member CosmicMojo's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    Why donít cities have the funding necessary to provide the same level of service and quality of living standards as many of the smaller communities? Or do they?
    In Virginia, cities are seperate from surrounding counties, so they don't get any tax revenue from the counties. The cities get less tax revenue from sales tax because so many businesses moved out the the counties and less tax revenue from personal property and real estate tax because of the middle class flight out to the counties.

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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by michaelskis
    It is a common perception, maybe a misperception, that crime and poverty rates are higher in urban areas. But is this true, and if it is, why?
    Prejudice. It's where the coloured's live. (sigh)

  11. #11
    Cyburbian Luca's avatar
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    Two points:

    a) cities have typically always ahd a greater number of crimes due to larger population and (but I have no soruces at hand) an equal/lower number of serious crimes per capita than rural areras.

    b) an interesting concept in widespread fears is the idea that the amount of fera that impacts decision-making is the product (multiplciation) of likelihood times 'dread factor'. Thus, if you have a 1/1000 chance of having a car accident and a 1/1500 chance of being mugged in NYC, as long as people 'dread' a mugging, say, twice, as much as a car crash, then their perception is that the real danger is the mugging.

    If people acted rationally based on stats, there wouldn't be any unfenced swimming pools or water featurs in private gardens sicne these have a catastrophically high incidence of toddler drownings. There would also be a LAW mandating access control (fencing). Instead, people get all het up about teh minutiae of car seats and the shape of plugs, which makes f###-all difference.
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    Cyburbian Doitnow!!'s avatar
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    more people more problems"
    I can only say about Indian cities which are thinkly populated( more in nos. and high in density)

    The larger the population the larger the socio-economic gaps within the social groups. Most of the violent crimes reported daily are thefts, armed attacks, rapes, murders due to socio-economic reasons. Some non-physical violence crimes reported are financial frauds swindling etc. In large populations people get more and more ingenious in undertaking similar crimes.

    Also the media does report such things graphically and hence the image of the city becomes damaged. I agree with 'btrage' that it has to be related to population but would add that it could be due to density.I would also add that the rate of increase of crime of a particular category would give startling results

    It would be difficult for someone to commit a crime and hide easily within a small town. Large cities provide anonymity and cover for people to dissappear. Also Indian cities are organic in nature and offer better places to hide after the crime although the police finally catches up with them

    I would say that poverty/unemployment definitely plays an important role in crime irrespective of size of city/town. Also larger cities will have larger disparities within its constituent communities

    Just a few interesting observations.
    Large Indian cities like the capital delhi has a large incidence of violent crimes against senior citizens as many old couples live alone due to various reasons. Mumbai has a larger rate of mafia related crimes than other cities.
    'Porbandar' a small town in India where Gandhi was born has a very large local mafia related crimes due to its major port related activities and a legacy of crime since decades I think
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