MCAT CARS Strategy Course Trial Session - Tuesday at 8PM ET! Reserve Spot

MCAT CARS Strategy Course Trial Session - Tuesday at 8PM ET!
Reserve Spot

MCAT Content / Spatial Inequality MCAT Wiki / Neighborhood Safety And Violence

Neighborhood Safety and Violence

Topic: Spatial Inequality Mcat Wiki

A  variety of factors can contribute to neighborhood safety and violence.

Neighborhoods often house people of the same social standing and socioeconomic status. This can often lead to spatial inequality as wealthier communities have a greater range of resources and services while poverty-stricken neighborhoods have access to very few resources and services. Prosperous neighborhoods have larger concentrations of the creative class, white-collar workers, and monoethnic communities. This results in low crime rates in neighborhoods with high-income households. In contrast, distressed neighborhoods have larger concentrations of blue-collar workers, racial minorities, residential mobility, and ethnic heterogeneity. These distressed neighborhoods typically struggle with high rates of crime, unemployment, community health issues, and lack of social mobility. Due to residential segregation, these neighborhoods have different crime rates and safety.

The high rate of crime in the impoverished neighborhood could be explained by the Social Disorganization Theory. This theory asserts that crime is most likely to occur in communities with weak social ties and the absence of social control. The theory directly links crime rates to neighborhood ecological characteristics and a core principle of social disorganization theory states that location matters. In other words, a person’s residential location is a substantial factor shaping the likelihood that that person will become involved in illegal activities. For example, an individual who grows up in a poor neighborhood with high rates of drug use, violence, teenage delinquency, and deprived parenting is more likely to become a criminal than an individual from a wealthy neighborhood with a good school system and families who are involved positively in the community.

Formal and informal means of social control will also influence neighborhood safety and violence. Formal means of social control are generally state-determined, through the creation of laws and their enforcement while informal means of social control refer to the reactions of individuals and groups that bring about conformity to norms and laws. In neighborhoods with high levels of crime, the police force (a formal means of social control) may struggle to contain that crime due to a lack of resources and support. Meanwhile, informal means of social control like good relationships with neighbors, strong family support, easy access to healthcare, etc. will often be weakened or absent in distressed neighborhoods.


Key Points

• Neighborhoods can lead to spatial inequality as they often house people of the same social standing and socioeconomic status.

• A correlation between crime rate and poverty has been observed: neighborhoods with high-income households enjoy low crime rates while impoverished neighborhoods experience high rates of crime.

• The Social Disorganization Theory asserts that a person’s residential location is a substantial factor shaping the likelihood that that person will become involved in illegal activities.

• Formal and informal means of social control will also influence neighborhood safety and violence. Formal means of social control are generally state-determined, through the creation of laws and their enforcement while informal means of social control refer to the reactions of individuals and groups that bring about conformity to norms and laws.


Key Words

Spatial inequality: The unequal amounts of qualities or resources and services depending on the area or location, such as medical or welfare.

Monoethnicity: The existence of a single ethnic group in a given region or country.

Ethnic heterogeneity: The quality or state of consisting of dissimilar or diverse elements.

Ethnic Segregation: The enforced or voluntary residential separation of two or more groups on the basis of cultural identity.

Social Disorganization TheoryA theory that suggests a person’s residential location is more significant than the person’s characteristics when predicting criminal activity.

Social control: The enforcement of conformity by society upon its members, either by law or by social pressure.

Formal means of social control: External sanctions enforced by the government to prevent the establishment of chaos or anomie in society.

Informal means of social control: The reactions of individuals and groups that bring about conformity to norms and laws.



Billing Information
We had trouble validating your card. It's possible your card provider is preventing us from charging the card. Please contact your card provider or customer support.
{{ cardForm.errors.get('number') }}
{{ registerForm.errors.get('zip') }}
{{ registerForm.errors.get('coupon') }}
Tax: {{ taxAmount(selectedPlan) | currency spark.currencySymbol }}

Total Price Including Tax: {{ priceWithTax(selectedPlan) | currency spark.currencySymbol }} / {{ selectedPlan.interval | capitalize }}