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In the Crossfire: The Impact of Gun Violence on Public Housing Communities

NCJ Number
Date Published
52 pages

Using newly available data from both the Department of Housing and Public Development (HUD) and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, this report examines the scope and magnitude of gun-related violence in and around public housing; it also addresses many of the costs associated with gun violence.


The report's findings are based on analysis of new data primarily from three sources: the National Crime Victimization Survey, narrative reports from HUD's Public Housing Drug Elimination Program grantees, and HUD's new Semi-Annual Performance Reporting System. The study found that across the Nation, public housing has experienced declining crime rates, with many housing authorities seeing greater reductions in crime rates than the cities in which they are located. Despite the overall progress, however, the study found that gun-related crime remains a serious problem in public housing. Persons who reside in public housing are over twice as likely to suffer from firearm-related victimization as other members of the population. Beyond crime and violence, firearms are a significant source of physical and financial damage in American communities. In response to the increasing recognition of the need for improved safety for residents, public housing authorities have spent well over $4 billion on crime reduction and prevention efforts since 1990. In a study of large public housing authorities, one in five residents reported feeling unsafe in their neighborhood. President Clinton's fiscal year 2001 budget includes an increase in the Public Housing Drug Elimination Program, from $310 million to $345 million. This $35-million increase will provide resources to local communities to develop crime reduction and prevention strategies tailored to meet their local needs. This funding increase will support an increase in formula grants to support local anti-crime strategies, a community gun safety and violence reduction initiative, and crime prevention through environmental design. 6 tables, appended supplementary information, and 26 notes

Date Published: January 1, 1999