An Enduring American ChallengePamela Wilcox, Francis T. Cullen, and Ben Feldmeyer
Social scientists have long argued over the links between crime and place. The authors of Communities and Crime provide an intellectual history that traces how varying images of community have evolved over time and influenced criminological thinking and criminal justice policy.
The authors outline the major ideas that have shaped the development of theory, research, and policy in the area of communities and crime. Each chapter examines the problem of the community through a defining critical or theoretical lens: the community as social disorganization; as a system of associations; as a symptom of larger structural forces; as a result of criminal subcultures; as a broken window; as crime opportunity; and as a site of resilience.
Focusing on these changing images of community, the empirical adequacy of these images, and how they have resulted in concrete programs to reduce crime, Communities and Crime theorizes about and reflects upon why some neighborhoods produce so much crime. The result is a tour of the dominant theories of place in social science today.
"Wilcox, Cullen, and Feldmeyer have done the field a major service with this powerful and timely review of enduring neighborhood stratification and its consequences for crime. Communities and Crime is theoretically rich and exhaustively comprehensive, which makes for an invaluable contribution to the study of neighborhood processes. Communities and Crime will be widely read and cited across disciplines."
—Eric A. Stewart, Ronald L. Simons Professor of Criminology at Florida State University
"Communities and Crime probes one of the most vital and intellectually exciting areas of the discipline. Why do some communities experience higher crime rates than others? Why are these differences so enduring, despite turnover in residents? Criminologists have argued for much of the last century over questions such as these, producing seminal research and leading theories. Wilcox, Cullen, and Feldmeyer provide an authoritative account of this important body of work that makes for fascinating reading. Their intellectual history melds seamlessly with a synthesis of contemporary research, making this a book for all criminologists and students of crime to read. I look forward to assigning Communities and Crime in class and continuing to learn from its insights."
—Robert J. Sampson, Harvard University, and author of Great American City: Chicago and the Enduring Neighborhood Effect
"Communities and Crime is a much needed text in the criminology literature. It is a must read for anyone interested in the historical evolution of crime and place theories and perfect for a graduate course on communities and crime. Pamela Wilcox, Francis T. Cullen and Ben Feldmeyer provide a detailed explanation of the theories through an historical and personal lens. This book is easy to read with its chronological layout and interesting mix of theoretical explanations and personal details about the theories’ authors." — Criminal Law and Criminal Justice Books
"Communities and Crime is a meticulously researched and well-constructed piece of scholarship. Written with authoritative coherency, this theoretically rich and intellectually stimulating volume charts the development of an important area of criminological study.... Communities and Crime makes an important and impressive contribution to the discipline. Its innovative approach towards delineating the rich intellectual history surrounding communities and crime makes it an incredibly accessible read that will no doubt play a key role in maintaining this subject’s important position within the criminological enterprise.... (A) timely volume."
— Trends in Organized Crime
"Wilcox, Cullen, and Feldmeyer provide an intellectual history of communities and crime in the US. They look at seven perceptions of the inner-city community—community as socially disorganized, as system, as truly disadvantaged, as criminal culture, as broken window, as criminal opportunity, and as collective efficacy—devoting a chapter to each. The authors emphasize the macro context, i.e., the idea that though particular images of community convey static differences, inner-city criminalistic communities are not islands but have distinct ongoing linkages with surrounding communities and neighborhoods and with the larger region of the city.... Summing Up: Recommended."
"Communities and Crime is a comprehensive, detailed, and much-needed book that provides an intellectual history of the study of communities and crime. The book contributes to an understanding of the historical conditions that influence the images of communities, which thereby impacts theories, research, and policies on communities and crime.... (T)he book stands among the best comprehensive studies on the intellectual history of communities and crime."
— Contemporary Sociology