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Gentrification and crime in Buffalo, New York

Since the 1990s, gentrification has significantly changed American urban landscapes. Its implications for crime are under recent scrutiny, particularly in large cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. We extend this literature by focusing on the gentrification-...

Published onJun 27, 2024
Gentrification and crime in Buffalo, New York
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Abstract

Since the 1990s, gentrification has significantly changed American urban landscapes. Its implications for crime are under recent scrutiny, particularly in large cities like New York City, Los Angeles, and Chicago. We extend this literature by focusing on the gentrification-crime link in the midsize city of Buffalo, New York using nine years of data from the American Community Survey and the Buffalo Police Department. Examining changes both within tracts over time and changes between gentrified and never-gentrified tracts, we find that gentrification is associated with reduced property crime and is not associated with changes in violent crime. More specifically, in comparing crime trends across tracts, we find that gentrified tracts show a trajectory of declining property crime that mirrors more advantaged tracts, while vulnerable-but-never-gentrified tracts show a U-shaped trajectory of property crime. Looking at within-tract changes, we find that years following gentrification of a given tract have lower property crime rates than years preceding gentrification, independent of the general reduction in crime over time. We discuss the implications of these findings for understanding the intersections between urban processes and crime.

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