Chapter 8: Ethnic segregation and crime: are offenders ethnically biased when choosing target areas?
Recent literature on cultural diversity in neighborhoods, in cities and in firms suggests that cultural diversity positively influences economic activity, productivity and consumption (e.g., Bakens, Mulder and Nijkamp 2013; Ottaviano and Peri 2006). The sociological and criminological literature, however, is not as positive about the effects of cultural diversity. It points to potential disadvantages, and suggests that cultural diversity is associated with a variety of social problems, including increased levels of violent and property crime. According to social disorganization theory (Bursik and Grasmick 1993; Kornhauser 1978; Sampson 2012; Shaw and McKay 1942) cultural or ethnic diversity – alone, or in combination with economic deprivation and high population turnover – creates religious, language and other cultural barriers to interaction, which in turn reduces the willingness of residents to execute social control, i.e. their willingness to contribute to the local public good of community safety.
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