Effects of Arrests and Incarceration on Informal Social Control in Baltimore, Maryland, Neighborhoods, 1980-1994 (ICPSR 3796)
Principal Investigator(s): Lynch, James P., American University; Sabol, William J., Urban Institute
This study examined the effects of police arrest policies and incarceration policies on communities in 30 neighborhoods in Baltimore. Specifically, the study addressed the question of whether aggressive arrest and incarceration policies negatively impacted social organization and thereby reduced the willingness of area residents to engage in informal social control, or collective efficacy. CRIME CHANGES IN BALTIMORE, 1970-1994 (ICPSR 2352) provided aggregate community-level data on demographics, socioeconomic attributes, and crime rates as well as data from interviews with residents about community attachment, cohesiveness, participation, satisfaction, and experiences with crime and self-protection. Incident-level offense and arrest data for 1987 and 1992 were obtained from the Baltimore Police Department. The Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections provided data on all of the admissions to and releases from prisons in neighborhoods in Baltimore City and Baltimore County for 1987, 1992, and 1994.
These data are freely available.
Lynch, James P., and William J. Sabol. EFFECTS OF ARRESTS AND INCARCERATION ON INFORMAL SOCIAL CONTROL IN BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, NEIGHBORHOODS, 1980-1994. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: Urban Institute and American University [producers], 2003. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium of Political and Social Research [distributor], 2003. doi:10.3886/ICPSR03796.v1
Persistent URL: http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03796.v1
This study was funded by:
- United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (98-CE-VX-0004)
Scope of Study
Smallest Geographic Unit: neighborhood
Unit of Observation: individuals
Universe: Urban Baltimore neighborhoods and their residents.
Data Types: survey data, census/enumeration data, and administrative records data
Data Collection Notes:
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Study Purpose: This study investigated the role of criminal justice policy in building and maintaining communities. It examined the effects of police arrest policies and incarceration policies on communities in 30 neighborhoods in Baltimore. Specifically, the study addressed the question of whether aggressive arrest and incarceration policies negatively impacted social organization and thereby reduced the willingness of area residents to engage in informal social control, or collective efficacy. Changes in arrest and incarceration practices and in structural attributes of neighborhoods were measured over a number of years. Previous studies assessed the effects of coercion on crime and fear of crime but not on community organization or collective efficacy. This study also examined the purported beneficial effects of these arrest and incarceration policies (e.g., crime reduction).
Study Design: The data for this study came from three sources. One source was CRIME CHANGES IN BALTIMORE, 1970-1994 (ICPSR 2352). Aggregate community-level data on demographics, socioeconomic attributes, and crime rates covering the period 1980 to 1992 were taken from Part 6 of ICPSR 2352, CRIME RATES AND CENSUS DATA FOR ALL BALTIMORE NEIGHBORHOODS, 1970-1992. Part 9 of ICPSR 2352, SURVEY OF RESIDENTS IN 30 NEIGHBORHOODS, 1994, provided data from interviews with 704 residents of these neighborhoods about community attachment, cohesiveness, participation, satisfaction, and experiences with crime and self-protection. The second source of data was the Baltimore Police Department, which provided incident-level offense and arrest data for 1987 and 1992. The offense data included the type of offense and street address where it occurred, and the arrest data included the type of charge and the street address where the arrest was made. Arrest and offense sites were located within the neighborhood where the incident happened. For this study, offenses and charges were grouped into four categories: drugs, violence, property, and public order. There were potential problems with the spatial identification of arrests. The arrest location may not represent where the crime occurred. The third source of data was the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections, which provided data on all of the admissions to and releases from prisons in neighborhoods in Baltimore City and Baltimore County in 1987, 1992, and 1994. Each record included the admission date, release date, the charges for which the person was incarcerated, and the person's address at the time of admission or release. As with the arrest data, these addresses were used to associate individuals with the appropriate neighborhood in Baltimore City. A potential problem with the corrections data was incomplete data on admissions and releases due to missing address data. Corrections Department personnel estimated that almost 50 percent of admissions and releases did not have address information.
Sample: Sampling for CRIME CHANGES IN BALTIMORE, 1970-1994 (ICPSR 2352) was carried out in the following manner. In 1981, 66 neighborhoods were randomly sampled from the 236 neighborhoods in Baltimore for block assessment. In 1994, 30 neighborhoods from the 66 chosen in 1981 were selected using stratified sampling to maximize the variation in changes in crime between the two research periods. Each neighborhood that was finally selected also had to contain three blocks that met the block eligibility criteria. Eight neighborhoods did not meet these criteria and had to be resampled. Blocks were selected based on the following criteria: (1) 1981 physical assessment data were available for the block, (2) the reverse telephone directory listed residential phones on that block, (3) there were at least 12 residential households with phones on that block, and (4) the telephone listings were not dominated by phones in large apartment buildings. Households were randomly assigned to two replicate samples, and the second replicate was used only if the first replicate sample had been exhausted without reaching the minimum block quota of four households.
Crime rate, census, and resident survey data were extracted from CRIME CHANGES IN BALTIMORE, 1970-1994 (ICPSR 2352). Incident-level offense and arrest data were obtained from the Baltimore Police Department. Incarceration data were provided by the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Corrections.
Description of Variables: Resident survey variables include answers to questions about different aspects of residents' neighborhoods, such as physical appearance, problems, crime and safety issues, and level of satisfaction with and involvement in their neighborhoods. The survey also collected demographic information, such as household size, how long at residence, marital status, income, gender, and race. Several variables derived from survey answers are also provided. Crime rate and census variables include crime rates for aggravated assault, burglary, homicide, larceny, auto theft, rape, and robbery for 1980-1992, and census information for 1990 on the composition of the housing units and the age, gender, race, education, employment, and income of residents of each neighborhood. Also provided are crime rates for each neighborhood for 1987-1992 and violent crime rates for 1980-1992. Arrest variables are provided for several arrest types for 1987 and 1992 for the entire neighborhood, Blacks, and Whites. Several derived arrest variables, including arrest rates, are provided. Incarceration variables include total prison admissions and releases for 1994, 1992, and 1987, number of admissions and releases for drug, public order, property, weapons, and violent offenders in each year, average time served by those released, admissions per capita, admission rates for each type of offender, changes in admission rates across the three years, prison admissions and releases per young adult population, and changes in admissions per young adult across the three years.
Response Rates: The average response rate for the resident survey was 76 percent.
Presence of Common Scales: Scales were constructed for community poverty, residential stability, informal social control, community solidarity, interaction among neighbors, and participation in voluntary associations. Several Likert-type scales were also used.
Original ICPSR Release: 2003-12-11
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