Abstract

Intergenerational Poverty and Gun Violence in South Central Los Angeles

In US cities, black, adolescent males are disproportionately more likely to be exposed to gun violence in their communities than any other demographic. In these same communities, the lasting impacts of discriminatory housing policies have resulted in high concentrations of poverty and wealth inequality. Today, in South Central Los Angeles the rate at which young black males are the victims, perpetrators, or witnesses of gun-related crimes remains amongst the highest in the nation. Using gun crime statistics data and cross-examining it with census data on the trend of poverty rates over the course of multiple generations, this paper examines the relationship between intergenerational poverty and crime. By comparing data to more affluent communities in West Los Angeles, this paper demonstrates that the concentration of intergenerational poverty is a strong predictor of gun violence. This research highlights the importance of desegregation in local housing policy and using neighborhood coalitions as possible interventions to combat inner-city crime. It aims to contribute to scholars' understanding of the causes of gun violence in inner-cities while also recommending pathways towards more effective policing.

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