The changing distribution of big-city crime: A Multi-City Time-Series Analysis

Wesley G. Skogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


This article analyzes the changing relationship between the aggregate demographic characteristics of cities, their investment in policing, and officially reported rates of crime. The data are for the nation's 32 largest cities, for the years 1946-1970. Analysis reveals that 1970 data support Louis Wirth's contention that crime rates are highest in large, dense, heterogeneous places; however, data from earlier years indicate that this overlap is a relatively recent phenomenon. I suggest that this reflects the process of suburbanization. Since World War II, white migration out of certain central cities has encouraged social changes which have led to the current stratification of communities. This process re sembles that which led to the formation of stratified neighborhoods within cities during an earlier era; the current covariation between demography and crime thus resembles that found at the subcommunity level 25 years ago.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-48
Number of pages16
JournalUrban Affairs Review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies


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