Monday, April 9, 2012

Did the Destruction of Chicago's Public Housing Decrease Violent Crime, Or Just Move It Elsewhere?

This Chicago Magazine article takes aim at any correlation (and/or causation) with regards to crime and public housing projects. The question here is wether or not tearing down CHA housing has either reduced crime or merely dispersed crime throughout the Chicago area.
On the other hand, crime in the former public-housing neighborhoods declined precipitously between 2000 and 2008: violent crime by 60 percent, property crime by 49 percent, and gun crime by 70 percent, compared to 13 and nine percent between 2002 and 2009 in similar neighborhoods in Atlanta (gun crime stats weren't available for that city). But spread out citywide across Chicago, the results are small: a one percent net decrease in violent crime, and a 0.3 percent decrease in property crime, although gun crime, a particular problem in public housing, declined by 4.4 percent, while accounting for the overall drop in crime across the city.
There's probably more to this however:
But it's likely a more complicated relationship than former public-housing residents simply bringing crime with them, as suggested by a study from NYU's Law School and Wagner School of Public Service from last year, which covered ten U.S. cities. What the authors found was that voucher recipients chose, or were guided to, neighborhoods that were in decline:

"While crime tends to be higher in census tracts with more voucher households, that positive relationship disappears after we control for unobserved characteristics of the census tract and crime trends in the broader sub-city area. We do find evidence to support a reverse causal story, however. That is, the number of voucher holders in a neighborhood tends to increase in tracts with rising crime, suggesting that voucher holders are more likely to move into neighborhoods where crime rates are increasing."
This article has already sparked a good discussion on our FB page. There's also a good discussion brewing at Worlee's Concerned Citizens of Chatham FB page. I would like to provide a taste of what's being said or at least those comments I thought were very good. We already know that at least within the 6th Ward there have been debates and certainly many have concluded that the destruction of the housing projects around the city have been disastrous for neighborhoods such as Chatham.
  • It's tough to say. Rule No. 1 from any statistics class is that CORRELATION does not equal CAUSATION. Just because two numbers go up at the same rate does not mean they are directly related. Every Section 8 family is not ignorant, just like every middle class family is not angelic. You have to judge people on a case by case basis.

    Public housing could have worked if it had been managed properly and there weren't government experiments done on low income people. Have we learned anything from the Tuskegee Experiment?

    If project folks are so bad, then GOVERNOR Deval Patrick of Massachusetts would have never made it; neither would millionaire Farrah Gray or many others from Chicago who are household names now.

    Forget a study! Numbers can't speak for people; people must speak for themselves.
  • It's all propaganda to turn folks against low income people. That's why I got into the journalism game because we must tell BOTH SIDES. We must talk about how middle class people don't have good financial skills either--that's why they are middle class are not rich yet. If they put their lottery ticket money in a damn savings account instead of the gas station and the river boat, they'd be rich too.
  •  Sad thing is that many of the residents of neighborhoods like Chatham sat at the table when plans were made to dismantle CHA housing and redline underserved communities like Englewood and Roseland and didn't say a word. Now "those people" are their next door neighbors and they want to cry wolf.
  • I saw the plans and architectual drawings for all this in the early 1990's and my question then, was what will happen to the people in public housing?
  • And let's not forget in Chatham, those who SHOULD be community leaders...MANY of that generation moved OUT of the neighborhood BEFORE Section 8 (often opening the door for it), making everyone else feel too overwhelmed. Add to that that the changes in society where we are often going out of our neighborhood for Church AND School, in addition to work.....and that's less time/energy to be a community leader   
Feel free to add your own thoughts to this piece. Perhaps you have an answer to the question of destroying public housing either transported crime or helped to decrease crime!

Hat-tip Newsalert!

1 comment:

  1. The violent crime was moved elsewhere.

    At least Chicago Magazine and Chicago SunTimes are addressing issues that Blacks don't want to discuss.

    I read both articles. They were trying so hard to be objective that they ended up saying nothing of any substance.

    Here's my take on it:

    This is RACISM on the part of White Liberals (and foolish Black intellectuals) who think that moving poor, ignorant Blacks next to hard working, middle class Blacks is a wonderful thing for both groups.

    Those of us who work hard to better our lives are in the wrong for not wanting to be around those who do NOT share these values?
    Are we all the same, simply because of skin color?


    For those of you who think I'm being elitist, think about this:

    Why weren't these supposedly poor, innocent, noble, misunderstood Blacks moved into White areas like Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast? Hmmm…


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