Inequality, Opportunity, and Crime Rates in Central Cities

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In a recent paper, Cohen and Felson argue that changes in our routine activities since World War 11 have contributed to the increase in predatory crime by creating additional opportunities for it. In particular, they found that a measure of the dispersal of activities away from the home‐the household activity ratio‐has had a significant effect on crime rate trends since 1947. The aim of the present research is twofold: (1) to determine if this relationship occurs across space as well as over time, and (2) to see i f economic inequality may be an intervening variable between the household activity ratio and the crime rate. The sample consists of 93 nonsouthern cities of over 50,000 population in 1960. Data are drawn from the 1970 Census und the U n i f m Crime Reports. Using path analysis, it is determined that the effects of the household activity ratio cm rates of predatory crime are entirely indirect, and are transmitted by income inequality. Copyright © 1983, Wiley Blackwell. All rights reserved