The Relationship Between Commerce and Crime

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The Security Guard

Photo by Memaxmarz

An examination of the US cities in the 2000’s found that in gentrified areas with improved commercial activity, violent crime dropped on average 8% more compared to that of the rest of the nation during the same period. For example, one study found that the areas in which new businesses had moved into saw an average drop in crime of 7% compared to just 5.7% in areas without them.

We can clearly see the relationship between areas with an improved business activity and reductions in crime. The researchers also found that the areas that spent the most on business improvement were generally the most successful.

The arrival of businesses into the crime-ridden neighborhoods, along with community-based policing, is a way of cutting down on blight in troubled areas. Maintaining and monitoring urban environments to prevent small crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and disorderly conduct helps to create an atmosphere of order and lawfulness, thereby preventing more serious crimes from happening. No matter how much the government spends on policing the streets, the presence of police authority is not enough to maintain a safe and crime-free neighborhood. People only care for and protect spaces they feel invested in. A neighborhood can become safer only if the people feel a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the area.

Improved business activity is a force acknowledged by the police. There is no doubt that success in reducing crime across the US was due in large part to economic and commercial factors.

Business is not the silver bullet, but it is an important component in the revitalization of any troubled neighborhood. And our inner city areas from New York to Los Angeles are a living testimony to that. Commerce brings money and outside people into communities. The surge of money, combined with the increased presence of activity, lead to lower crime levels.

The drop in crime stands as one of the more fascinating and remarkable social phenomena of our time. For decades, crime soared. Cities were viewed as unlivable. But since the late Reagan era, the tide of crime and violence has seemed to simply recede. Crime is about half of what it was at its peak in 1985. Violent crime has plummeted 51 percent. Property crime has fallen 43 percent. Homicides are down 54 percent. In 1985, there were 1,384 murders in New York City. Last year there were 333. The country is an undeniably safer place. There is no doubt that the gentrification and the business community which came with it and caused growing urban populations is one of the main causes of the phenomenal reduction in crime.

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