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Congregations and Crime: Is the Spatial Distribution of Congregations Associated with Neighborhood Crime Rates?

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Few studies have focused on how religious congregations are associated with crime rates, especially at the neighborhood level. Using data for more than 400 block groups in Indianapolis, we focus on the relationship between different types of congregations (e.g., evangelical Protestant, civically engaged) and eight different types of crime controlling for a variety of neighborhood characteristics. The results suggest that neighborhoods with more evangelical Protestant congregations have higher rates of both violent and property crimes. Neighborhoods with more mainline and black Protestant congregations have higher rates of property crimes, but not violent crimes. Finally, although civically engaged congregations are associated with lower neighborhood crime rates, the association may be limited to some types of property crimes. Therefore, the positive association between evangelical Protestant congregations and crime may be more general, and the negative association between civically engaged congregations and crime more limited, than previous research has suggested.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Sociology Purdue University 2: Department of Criminology and Behavioral SciencesNational Research Institute of Police Science 3: Press Ganey and Associates

Publication date: 2010-03-01

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