Income segregated neighborhoods and violence: a paradigm shift

Many neighborhoods in the United States are affected by segregation, including by race, ethnicity, or income. One of the major consequences of income inequality is low-income violence prone neighborhoods. The purpose of this study was to examine how residents defined violence in their neighborhoods, what strategies were being used by the residents to navigate through violence, and what the resident thought needed to be done to address violence on a micro, mezzo, and macro level. This was a qualitative, grounded theory study, in which data were collected through focus groups or one-on-one, face-to-face interviews with residents in violence prone, income segregated neighborhoods. There were 7 participants who took part in the study and who were at least 18 years old. The data showed complex forms of violence in these neighborhoods. The residents talked extensively about the role of community organizations, the city, and the major corporations in the neighborhood can play to promote safety in the neighborhoods. They emphasized the need for political advocacy and organizations/professionals to help them organize and fight for social change and collective safety. Social work practice, policy, and education implications all include a need to shift the current micro-focused paradigm to include more emphasis on macro social work. Future research recommendations include the need for participatory action research (PAR) and research that allows for more time to do a thorough grounded theory study on this topic.