Neighborhood crime

Writing Assignment: Connecting Theory to the Real World of Neighborhood Crime: A Study of Two
Albuquerque Neighborhoods
Sociology 312 (Spring 2017)
The purpose of this assignment is to provide theoretically and empirically grounded explanations for the crime
patterns found in two neighborhoods. As the data table indicates below, the Crimeville (census tract 2100)
neighborhood has very high levels of crime (based on official data from the Albuquerque Police department for
2004, 2005, and 2006) – specifically, 79.80 and 278.91 violent and property crimes per 1,000 population
(averaged across 3 years). These rates make it the number one crime neighborhood in Albuquerque for the
years 2004, 2005, 2006. In contrast, the Peaceville (census tract 0801) neighborhood as the table indicates has
very low levels of crime – specifically, .91 and 3.22 violent and property crimes per 1,000 population (averaged
across 3 years). These rates make it the least crime-ridden neighborhood in Albuquerque for the years 2004,
2005, 2006. The data table also provides several other variables based on the 2000 Census for both
neighborhoods. Your job is to provide two different explanations for why Crimeville and Peaceville
neighborhoods vary so much in their violent and property crime rates. Your grade is based on how well you
connect the variables with criminological theory discussed in our class, which requires you to demonstrate your
knowledge of the issues and ideas we have covered in 312’s course materials. To complete this assignment,
first apply contemporary social disorganization theory to the two neighborhoods. Then you can choose
another macro theory that could also explain the patterns – one of the cultural deviance theories, anomie theory,
relative deprivation theory, routine activities theory or Wilson’s structural dislocations theory. Please note that
this is a macro-level analysis and so requires macro level arguments and logic.
This writing assignment is worth 30 percent of your final grade and is due at the beginning of class on
Wednesday, May 3rd. Grading Rubric is found below. Your assignment should be about 6 pages. The first
half of the paper should be devoted to the explanation and the second half to the second explanation. MAKE
In discussing each of your explanations, make sure to discuss the following:
– – choose three variables that are consistent with the theory (social disorganization and then one other so it will
be a total of six different variables) and describe how the variables vary between the two neighborhoods and
how this helps to make sense of the crime patterns. To do so, make sure to define the theory, explain why each
variable “fits” with the theory, and how each variable explains theoretically why the neighborhood has high/low
crime. When defining each theory, be sure to include its core concepts, and assumptions about the social order,
locus of criminality and criminal motivation. This part is worth 25 points for each theory; a total of 50
— drawing upon criminological research, provide a convincing argument as to the merit of your explanation.
Your goal here is to convince me that there is sufficient evidence to justify your connections. To provide a
convincing argument, discuss evidence provided in class or in your readings. What this means is that you
should integrate findings from your readings and lectures as well as films to make your case. THIS IS
IMPORTANT! While conducting additional research is not required it can be helpful in this section, especially
for issues that have not been discussed extensively in class. This part is worth 25 points for each theory; a
total of 50 points.
Additional comments on writing assignment:
1. The paper must be type-written on an 8 ½ x 11 sheets of paper, double-spaced, using a 12 point font and one
inch margins. Before turning the assignment, make sure to proofread and spell-check your document. Make sure
your written responses are concise and address all components of the assignment.
2. Recall from your syllabus that assignments that are not turned in at the beginning of class on the due date will
be considered one day late. Late assignments will be penalized 5 percentage points for each 24 hour period that
they are late.
3. Try not to use quotes. If you feel you must use quotations, you may only use two quotes with each quote
having 25 words or less.
4. To cite sources, please include the information that is provided in the syllabus (i.e., Patillo-McCoy, R14 or
full bibliographic information on the books). To cite lectures, provide the date of the lecture or the set of slides
you are drawing from. Provide a list of your sources at the end of the assignment. provide a complete
5. I recommend that you meet with Prof. Vélez to discuss this assignment and take advantage of voluntary
6. Because crafting explanations can be complex, you need to start this project early enough to have time to ask
questions and write a well thought out assignment.
7. This paper is not a group project; students are responsible for writing their own paper. This means
collaboration on the writing is not permitted; you must use your own ideas.
Theory Discussion (Social Disorg)
— Assumptions /5
— Causal Logic /5
— Variable #1 /5
— Variable #2 /5
— Variable #3 /5
Evidence to support claims /25
Theory Discussion (2nd Theory)
— Assumptions /5
— Causal Logic /5
— Variable #1 /5
— Variable #2 /5
— Variable #3 /5
Evidence to support claims /25
Total Grade /100
Table 1. 2000 Census, HMDA, Realty Trac Data along with Crime Data (2004 – 2006) for Crimeville and Peaceville
neighborhoods (Albuquerque, NM)
Variable Crimeville Peaceville
1. Property Crime Rate per
278.9 3.22
2. Violent Crime Rate per
1,000 79.8 .91
3. Total Population (2000) 1,721 4,757
3a. Percentage Change in
Total Population (1970-
11 % increase 60 % decline
4. Concentrated
Disadvantage Index (an
index that summarizes the
below components)
10.99 -.08
4a. % of population that is
in poverty
33% 2%
4b. % of households that
are female-headed families
71% 8%
4c. the percentage of
persons in a census tract
age 16 and older that are
30% 13%
4d. the percentage of
persons in a census tract
age 16 and older employed
in professional and
managerial occupations
16% 20%
4e. % of the male
population that is 16 and
over that are jobless
81.2% 6.1%
5. the % of dwelling units
that are owner occupied
10% .5%
Variable Crimeville Peaceville
6. the percentage of
dwelling units that are
10% 12%
7. the percentage of
dwelling units that are
rental units
80% 87%
8. Percent of population
that is Latino
43 18%
9. Percent of population
that is American Indian
13% .04%
10. Percent of population
that is African American
7% 11%
11. Median family income $42,143.00 $31,046
11a. Mean household
$28,653 $32,713
12. % of residents that are
young males (15 to 24)
14% 17%
13. Median Age 33.6 years 22.2 years
14. % of residents that are
Foreign Born
1.1 % 5.5%
15. $ Amount of Home
Purchase Loans (per
16. Number of Home
Purchase Loans
22 3
17. % of residents that are
25+ with a Bachelor’s
Degree or more
16% 20.7%
18. % of total population
that is divorced
13.2% 3.3%
Variable Crimeville Peaceville
19. % of residents of 5
years old and higher that
speak something other than
English at home
47.5% 14.4%
20. Percent of residents 5
years old and higher that
lived in same house for the
last five years
33% 5.6%
21. Average household
1.54 2.99
22. Percent of Households
with Earnings
90.59% 99.66%
23. Percent of Households
with Public Assistance
2.35% 1.71%
24. Number of churches 5 6
25. Number of child care
5 0
26. Number of housing
645 1075
27. Occupied housing
units (#/% of all housing
552/86% 1033/96%
28. renter occupied
housing units (#/% of all
housing units
496/89.9% 1024/99%
29. % of 25 year olds and
older with less than 9th
grade education
17% 0 %
30. Median Value ($) for
all owner-occupied housing
$89,100 $137,500
31. Sum of Foreclosed
properties (99-05)
1 0
32. Sum of Foreclosed
properties (99-05)
9 0
33. 99-05 Rate of
units) *1000
1.55 per 1000 0

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