COLLECTIVE EFFICACY, THREAT, AND URBAN CHANGE: EXAMINING SOCIAL CONTROL FORCES IN AREAS OF GENTRIFICATION
Kozey, Kathryn Noe
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Since the term gentrification was first coined in the 1960s, scholars have had an interest in understanding how this process of change can impact neighborhoods. Empirical research focusing on the relationship between gentrification and crime has yielded varying results, with little examination of the contextual mechanisms which may influence the relationship. In addition, little empirical attention has been devoted to the possibility of the spatial displacement of crime due to gentrification. The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to our understanding of how gentrification impacts levels of crime in three ways. First, using data from the U.S. Census, the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, and the Chicago Transit Authority, I examine whether gentrification is significantly associated with lower levels of crime. Second, I examine levels of crime in gentrifying and adjacent areas to assess the presence of spatial displacement. Third, I incorporate two contextual factors - collective efficacy and perceived neighborhood change - to examine whether or not they modify the relationship between gentrification and crime. Analyses utilize multilevel modeling techniques and difference-in-differences estimation. Results offer preliminary support for the moderating roles of collective efficacy and perceived neighborhood change mechanisms on the relationship between gentrification and crime. While there is an overall negative association between gentrification and crime, this effect is strengthened with collective efficacy, but reversed with rising levels of perceived neighborhood change. Additionally, there is preliminary evidence that the spatial displacement of crime is not occurring as a result of gentrification. I conclude this dissertation with a discussion of the limitations, policy implications, and future directions for this area of research.