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Tenant Organization as a Moderator of Neighborhood Crime

This project, sponsored by the National Instite of Justice, investigated how residentially based tenant organizations in high crime/low income neighborhoods might affect criminal activity within buildings characterized by different levels of tenant social organization. The project drew on databases on homicide and assault developed by Dr. Jeff Fagan at Columbia University’s School of Public Health, as well as a set of 2,985 interviews conducted by HERG with low-income Brooklyn residents living in various types of buildings (tenant ownership, ownership by a private landlord, community group ownership, and ownership/management by New York City agencies). GIS was employed to superimpose the data regarding homicides and assaults over the addresses of the buildings used in the interview study.

In 2000, a report based on this research was released at the Cooperative Housing Summit in Washington, DC. Entitled A Prospective Study of Social Capital and Crime in Low Income Housing (G. Winkel, S. Saegert, C. Swartz), the report indicated that cooperative forms of ownership were associated with lower crime rates in the neighborhoods under study, suggesting that resident ownership and management of housing may be an effective way to enhance quality of life in low-income neighborhoods.

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 Supported by the CUNY Doctoral Students Council.