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Effects of Neighborhood and Family Structure on Violent Victimization and Violent Delinquency

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2005
28 pages
This study examined the interaction of neighborhood and family structure on violent victimization and violent offending among youth.
Results from the Denver Neighborhood Study (DNS) indicated no significant interaction of neighborhood and family structure on the likelihood of youth violent victimization or youth violent offending. However, findings among the high-risk sample contained in the Denver Youth Survey (DYS) revealed that living in single-parent families in disadvantaged neighborhoods was a significant risk factor for violent victimization among youth. It is important to note, however, that the highest rates of youth violent victimization and offending were not found in the most disorganized neighborhoods but rather in the moderately disorganized neighborhoods with moderate to high arrest rates. The findings specific to youth violent offending indicated that living in a single-parent family had a greater negative effect in “good” neighborhoods than it did in disadvantaged neighborhoods. The study was an attempt to replicate the findings from a previous study (Lauritsen 2003) that drew on data from the National Crime Victimization Survey; this study found that children in single-parent families were at higher risk for violent victimization and that this risk was magnified in disadvantaged neighborhoods. Data for the current analysis were drawn from two data sources: the DNS, a cross-sectional study of the entire city of Denver, and the DYS, a long-term longitudinal study of Denver’s high-risk neighborhoods. The findings of the current study failed to replicate the Lauritsen study, although the author notes that the different data sources used for each study could be a main reason for the divergent findings. The many gender differences that emerged in this analysis deserve future research attention. Tables, figure, footnotes, references

Date Published: May 1, 2005