"The Changing Distribution of Big-City Crime: A Multi-City Time Series Analysis,"
Urban Affairs Quarterly, 13 (September, 1977), 33-48.
This article analyzes the changing relationship between the aggregate demographic
characteristics of cities, their investment in policing, and officially reported rates of crime. The
data are for the nation’s 32 largest cities, for the years 1946-1970. Analysis reveals that 1970
data support Louis Wirth’s contention that crime rates are highest in large, dense,
heterogeneous places; however, data from earlier years indicate that this overlap is a
relatively recent phenomenon. I suggest that this reflects the process of suburbanization.
Since World War II, white migration out of certain central cities has encouraged social changes
which have led to the current stratification of communities. This process resembles that which
led to the formation of stratified neighborhoods within cities during an earlier era; the current
covariation between demography and crime thus resembles that found at the subcommunity
level 25 years ago.