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Neighborhood Disadvantage and Police Notification by Victims of Violence

NCJ Number
Criminology Volume: 40 Issue: 3 Dated: August 2002 Pages: 579-616
Eric P. Baumer
Date Published
August 2002
38 pages
This article examines the relationship between neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage and the likelihood of police notification by victims of violence.
Data from the Area-Identified National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) were analyzed and presented in this article in order to examine the effect of neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage on the likelihood of police notification by victims of violence. After discussing that a substantial portion of violence experienced by citizens goes unreported, the author presents theories on victim decision-making. Asserting that there is a complex set of conditions influencing if and when a victim will call the police, this article contends that high rates of joblessness and poverty, alienation from mainstream institutions, and structural strain all affect police notification by victims of violence in socioeconomically disadvantaged neighborhoods. After briefly discussing prior research in this area, the author describes the data used in this study, derived from the area-identified NCVS and the 1990 Census. Analyzing variables derived from the NCVS data, based on a stratified, multistage cluster sample design, the author found that just over one-quarter of simple assaults and less than one-half of aggravated assaults and robberies were reported to the police by victims. Neighborhood disadvantage, however, did not seem to influence the likelihood of police notification among robbery and assault victims, suggesting that some studies tend to underestimate the effect of neighborhood disadvantage on reporting crimes to the police, while other studies overestimate this effect. Tables, references


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