Article  |  Community violence

An Examination of Fear of Crime and Social Vulnerability in Chicago Neighborhoods

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In the past few decades in the United States, fear of crime has not decreased considerably, despite decreases in violent crime rates. This has led researchers to theorize that fear of crime may be influenced by factors beyond local crime rates.[1] True risk for victimization may be overestimated as a result of disproportionate concerns about violent crime and inaccurate assessments of crime.[2] Residents are often unaware of the actual prevalence of crime in their community and their perceptions may be based on neighborhood characteristics, vicarious victimizations (i.e., witnessing a crime or knowing someone who has been a victim of a crime), and misconceptions about their neighborhood’s crime problems relative to other neighborhoods [3] Unwarranted negative perceptions and fear may be harmful to residents, contributing to depression and anxiety. [4]

This study examined fear of crime across a variety of neighborhoods in Chicago, with particular emphasis on the relationship between social vulnerability and fear of crime. Social vulnerability was measured at the neighborhood level, including concentrated disadvantage and crime rates.

Literature Review

Social Disorganization and Fear of Crime

Theories that attribute fear of crime to signs of disorder or deterioration in the community stem from Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory, which seeks to explain how structural characteristics might affect levels of crime in a particular area. [5] Social disorganization occurs in neighborhoods with is a large percentage of residents living below the federal poverty level, high unemployment, and a high proportion of individuals who are financially dependent on others (e.g., children under the age of 18, elderly individuals, multigenerational households). [6] Other factors associated with disorder are high residential turnover, mixed land use, and high population density. [7]

Over the past few decades, social disorganization theory has largely been used to explain neighborhood differences in fear of crime.[8] In applying social disorganization theory, fear of crime is viewed as both a consequence and cause of neighborhood disorganization. The response to crime may cause residents to withdraw from the community, which further reduces the neighborhood’s capacity for social control. [9] Research on fear of crime focuses on the interaction between social disorganization and feelings of vulnerability. Residents living in neighborhoods characterized by higher levels of concentrated disadvantage, social disorganization, and physical disrepair are more likely to report being fearful of crime due to increased feelings of social vulnerability associated with conditions of their community. [10] Social disorganization and crime are also associated with structural characteristics of particular neighborhoods, especially concentrated disadvantage and lack of resources. [11]

Neighborhood disorder can lead to changes in community dynamics that further reduce community capacity to address local issues.[12] As individuals and families who can afford to relocate leave, those remaining often belong to demographic groups that are more difficult to organize and engage in community efforts, such as renters, single-parent families, non-family households, less educated individuals, and those living near or below the poverty level. [13] Franklin, Franklin, and Fearn found that residents’ perceptions of neighborhood disorder (e.g., vandalism, noise, youth gangs) was the most significant predictor of fear of crime, and that individual social ties to the community, while also important, was a significantly less important determinant of fear. [14]

While there is considerable empirical support for a positive relationship between indicators of neighborhood disorder and fear of crime, the nature of this relationship lacks scholarly consensus.[15] Some researchers suggest that the relationship may not be direct, but instead, is mediated by perceived risk of victimization.[16] Moreover, levels of perceived disorder have been found to be stronger predictors of fear than levels of actual disorder. [17]

Broken Windows Theory and Fear of Crime

The reciprocal nature of fear and disorganization forms the basis of Wilson & Kelling’s “broken windows theory.”[18] Wilson and Kelling theorized that when parts of a community are left in physical disrepair, a cycle is initiated in which residents become fearful and subsequently limit their community involvement, leading to diminished informal social control. [19] Informal social control features community members collectively supporting conformity to norms and laws and intervening in crime. This leads to increased crime and disorder and even higher levels of fear and withdrawal. While this theory is most often considered in the context of policing, it is intrinsically related to the study of fear of crime, as fear is the essential element theorized to exacerbate disorganization by weakening residents’ ties to the community. [20] Fear can also foster suspicion of neighbors, which can inhibit the development of social connections between community members.[21]

A large body of research has examined the impact on fear of crime of visible signs of criminal behavior and physical neglect in a community. Visible signs of non-violent illegal behavior (e.g., drug sales, public drinking, etc.) and neglected or vandalized buildings and public spaces are often referred to in the literature as indicators of “disorder” or “incivilities,” and are theorized to stimulate concerns about crime. [22] These indicators amplify fear of crime and contribute to perceptions that violence and crime are increasing. [23] Additionally, these indicators may impact neighborhoods by contributing to an erosion of community relations and trust between neighbors, which exacerbates resident concerns about crime and diminishes neighborhood capacity for social control. [24] Neighborhood disorder leads to more fear of crime and violence. [25] Physical fights, verbal harassment, public drunkenness, and drug activity contribute to resident perceptions of neighborhood dangerousness, which may hinder neighbor intervention in conflicts and neighborhood self-regulation. [26]

Urban Cities and Fear of Crime

Residents of large cities are more likely to report fear of crime.[27] Garofalo and Laub theorized that general feelings of “urban unease” may be more closely tied to fear of crime than to specific concerns about local crime. [28] Urban neighborhoods are more likely to be perceived as dangerous by their residents than suburban and rural communities—this is especially true in urban areas characterized by socioeconomic disadvantage and heterogeneous populations [29] There is a positive relationship between levels of fear of crime and city size. [30] Residents in larger cities often exhibit higher levels of fear and concern about crime than those in smaller cities.[31] Additionally, there is often a large amount of variation between neighborhoods within a given city in terms of concerns about crime. [32] While urban communities do tend to exhibit higher actual crime rates, urban, suburban, and rural areas have experienced similar declines in crime rates over time, with crime in urban areas perhaps declining at a faster pace.

Youth from economically disadvantaged urban areas are disproportionately affected by concerns about personal safety, and are more likely to experience feeling unsafe in various settings than youth of higher socioeconomic status.[33] In 2013, there were higher percentages of students who reported feeling afraid for their safety at school and away from school in urban areas compared to students in suburban or rural areas.[34] Additionally, mothers living in city settings are more likely to regularly fear crime and violence if they live in neighborhoods where a large percentage of residents are living in poverty.[35] Individuals living in urban neighborhoods also report higher levels of perceived risk of victimization than those living in suburban and rural locations.[36] Yonas, O’Campo, Burke, & Gielen found that urban community members thought a lack of employment opportunities, especially for youth, led to more violence and crime in their communities. [37] Community members also reported that a lack of city maintenance services, such as trash removal and street lighting, may lead youth to feel as if their well-being was unimportant, leading to risk-taking behavior and illegal activity. Residents in neighborhoods without attention and intervention from law enforcement have a heightened fear of crime. [38]

Negative Effects of Fear of Crime

Fear can have negative effects on a person’s mental health. Fear of crime can lead to decreased community involvement, increased anxiety, and social isolation.[39] Residents in high-crime neighborhoods who also have high levels of fear are more likely to suffer from mental illness than those living in lower crime neighborhoods. [40] Depression can be caused by neighborhood disorder and can happen despite high levels of neighborhood social cohesion. [41] Feeling unsafe is a significant predictor of hopelessness, pessimism, aggressive behavior, antisocial activities, and lower levels of school achievement. [42] This is theorized to be a consequence of a process through which continuous concerns about personal safety develop into a “constant state of threat” which, in turn, results in maladaptive temperamental and behavioral adjustments. [43] Additionally, heightened perceptions about crime and disorder may lead people to doubt that local problems can be solved, which can lead to an increase in feelings of helplessness and isolation. [44]

Fear of crime can contribute to the cycle of violence in a community. Fear of crime may influence individuals to start carrying weapons as a means of self-defense, which can lead to escalating levels of neighborhood violence.[45] Neighborhood violence and frequently feeling unsafe have been identified as risk factors for youth gun-carrying—protection is one of the main reasons youth give for carrying a gun.[46] Rates of youth gun-carrying are significantly higher in neighborhoods that are perceived to be less safe and have higher levels of social disorder, physical disorder, and concentrated disadvantage.[47] Perceiving a constant threat of violence can also result in the development of cognitive schemas—characterizing the world as a hostile place. In turn, this endorses aggression as an acceptable and normal response.[48] Youth who perceive their communities to be highly unsafe may adapt their behavior accordingly, which can perpetuate the problems in their communities. As a result of these concerns, it is important to gauge fear of crime.

Methodology

Sample

A sample of 1,046 Chicago residents in 16 neighborhoods completed surveys that included questions measuring their fear of crime. Chicago is comprised of more than 200 neighborhoods within 77 community areas.[49] Some community areas share the same names or parts of the same names with the individual neighborhoods they include. In this article, we use the terms community and neighborhood interchangeably. Survey respondents from the neighborhoods of Hermosa and Belmont Cragin answered jointly and will be referred to as “Hermosa” in this article. Similarly, Gage Park and Chicago Lawn are together referred to as “Gage Park”.

Respondents included 237 youth under the age of 18 and 792 respondents age 18 years or older (unknown age, n=17) who participated in the violence prevention programming offered. The average age was 26 and ages ranged from 14 to 74.

Measure of Fear of Crime

Respondents measured fear of crime by rating the degree to which they felt that seven items pertaining to community violence and safety were problems in their communities using a Likert scale of 1 (A very small problem) to 5 (A very big problem). The seven items used to measure fear of crime were:

  1. People selling drugs
  2. Groups of people hanging around the neighborhood and causing trouble
  3. Inability to walk safely on the streets of your neighborhood
  4. Non-violent crimes (theft, vandalism, or drug sales)
  5. Violence among community members
  6. Gunshots and shootings
  7. Violent crime (people being beaten, robbed, or assaulted) In order to confirm that the seven items were reliable, researchers ran a factor analysis and calculated Cronbach’s alpha. Internal consistency was very high (α = .946) and the items loaded onto a single factor, which explained 75.5 percent of the variance.

The survey items were based on those included in the Boston Neighborhood Survey by the Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center as a part of the Boston data project.[50] The Boston Neighborhood Survey is a biennial telephone survey of adults in Boston neighborhoods. It has been administered three times (2006, 2008, and 2010), yielding more than 4,000 surveys.

Researchers for the current study originally collected the survey data as part of an evaluation for a youth summer job program and a summer parenting program.[51] Seven items were pulled from the rest of the survey questions, which focused on program evaluation measures unrelated to the focus of this study. Staff of the aforementioned programs administered a paper survey to youth and parents in September 2014. Program staff returned the forms by mail to researchers. The convenience sample consisted of 344 subjects in a parent program and 702 subjects in the employment program for young adults.

Measure of Neighborhood Social Vulnerability

Researchers created a Social Vulnerability Index to measure levels of neighborhood vulnerability in Chicago neighborhoods. Researchers modified the Economic Hardship Index, created by the Rockefeller Institute of Government, as a basis for this Social Vulnerability Index measure.[52] The Economic Hardship Index is based on six variables: percent unemployed, percent dependent (young children and elderly), education levels, income levels, extent of crowded housing, and poverty levels. The Healthy Chicago 2.0 report utilized a measure of economic hardship similar to the Economic Hardship Index from which the Social Vulnerability Index used in the current study was derived.[53]

The Economic Hardship Index was modified by removing the variable of crowded housing (defined as the percentage of occupied housing units with more than one person per room) because the relevant data was not readily available. Researchers added a variable pertaining to violent index offenses because of the study’s focus on violence as an aspect of neighborhood vulnerability (Scarborough et al., 2010). The violent index offense rate for each community was based on 2014 census data and 2014 violent index offense data from the City of Chicago Data Portal. [54] This index measures community socioeconomic conditions to derive a more thorough and multidimensional understanding of concentrated disadvantage in a community.

The Social Vulnerability Index included the following six variables in Chicago:

  • Poverty: percentage of residents living below the federal poverty level
  • Education: percentage of the population over the age of 25 without a high school diploma
  • Unemployment: percentage of unemployed civilians ages 17 and older
  • Dependency: percentage of the population under the age of 18 or over the age of 64
  • Income level: per capita income
  • Neighborhood violence: violent index offense rates

Researchers used the following formula to calculate the Social Vulnerability Index: X=((Y-Ymin)/(Ymax—Ymin))*100 X=standardized value of component variable (for example, unemployment rate) for each community to be computed Y=unstandardized value of component variable for each city Ymin=the minimum value for Y across all cities Ymax=the maximum value for Y across all cities

The (Ymax—Ymin ) part of the formula was reversed to (Ymin—Ymax ) for the calculation of income level so that the resulting ratio would be interpreted consistently with the other ratios—a higher value indicating higher vulnerability. The formula standardizes each of the component variables so that they are all given equal weight in the composite index. The index represents the average of the standardized ratios of seven component variables. The social vulnerability index ranged from 0 to 100 with a higher number indicating greater vulnerability. [55] Appendix A provides the social vulnerability index measures in the 16 Chicago neighborhoods.

Analysis

Researchers calculated descriptive statistics (percentages and means) for the seven survey questions measuring fear of crime. A correlation analysis examined the extent to which those in neighborhoods with high social vulnerability were fearful of crime. In addition, the correlation between the social vulnerability index and the mean community resident response on fear of crime was calculated.

Results

Descriptive Statistics Fear of Crime

Almost half of residents in the sample from 16 Chicago neighborhoods reported that drug selling (48 percent) and gunshots and shootings (47 percent) were big or very big problems in their neighborhoods. Concerns about violence and violent crime also were noted among a sizeable portion of respondents ( Figure 1). Residents in the neighborhood of Woodlawn had the highest concerns, while Albany Park, Humboldt Park, Brighton Park, and Grand Crossing reported fewer concerns (Figure 2; see also Table 1).


Figure 1

CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOOD RESIDENTS’ CONCERNS AS BIG OR VERY BIG PROBLEMS (N=1,046)

DATA SOURCE: YOUTH AND PARENT PROGRAM SURVEYS, 2014.
NOTE: RESPONSES WERE VERY BIG PROBLEM, BIG PROBLEM, AVERAGE PROBLEM, SMALL PROBLEM, VERY SMALL PROBLEM.

FIGURE 2

AVERAGE FEAR OF CRIME IN 16 CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS (N=1,046)

DATA SOURCE: YOUTH AND PARENT PROGRAM SURVEYS, 2014.
NOTE: RESPONSES WERE 5=VERY BIG PROBLEM, 4=BIG PROBLEM, 3=AVERAGE PROBLEM, 2=SMALL PROBLEM, 1=VERY SMALL PROBLEM.

Fear of Crime Compared to Social Vulnerability Indicators

Englewood had the highest social vulnerability index score (69.7) followed by Austin (67.2) and West Garfield Park (64.7) (Table 1).


TABLE 1

FEAR OF CRIME AND SOCIAL VULNERABILITY INDICATOR SCORES BY NEIGHBORHOOD (N=1,046)

Community n
Fear of Crime Score
Social Vulnerability Index Score
Woodlawn 31
4.13
53.20
North Lawndale 75
3.79
62.90
Austin 96
3.58
67.20
Englewood 100
3.54
69.70
South Shore 80
3.51
54.60
Gage Park 43
3.41
59.30
Roseland 49
3.39
53.30
East Garfield Park 77
3.38
60.90
West Garfield Park 45
3.35
64.70
Hermosa 57
3.22
49.90
Rogers Park 39
3.18
36.00
Logan Square 62
3.03
32.40
Brighton Park 113
2.95
54.80
Greater Grand Crossing 72
2.83
57.30
Albany Park 80
2.51
43.60
Humboldt Park 27
2.36
61.40
DATA SOURCES: YOUTH AND PARENT PROGRAM SURVEYS; ICJIA ANALYSIS OF DATA FROM THE CITY OF CHICAGO DATA PORTAL.
NOTE: RATINGS ON A SCALE OF 1 (A VERY SMALL PROBLEM) TO 5 (A VERY BIG PROBLEM)

Correlation between fear of crime and social vulnerability

A significant positive correlation was noted between fear of crime and social vulnerability, r(1,023) =.166, p < .001. The correlation, however was weak.

Each neighborhood was assigned a relative ranking (1 to 16) for both fear of crime and social vulnerability. A low ranking for social vulnerability would indicate less vulnerability and a low ranking for fear of crime would indicate less fear. For each neighborhood, the fear of crime ranking was subtracted from the social vulnerability ranking. As seen in Table 2 and Figure 3, positive numbers indicate a higher fear of crime ranking than a social vulnerability ranking; a negative number means a lower fear of crime ranking than a social vulnerability ranking. For example, in Woodlawn, respondents indicated the highest level of fear of crime (ranked 16), but their neighborhood had less social vulnerability (ranked 5).


TABLE 2

RELATIVE RANKINGS OF FEAR OF CRIME AND SOCIAL VULNERABILITY BY NEIGHBORHOOD

Community Fear of Crime Ranking Social Vulnerability Ranking Fear of Crime and Social Vulnerability Difference
Woodlawn
5
16
11
South Shore
7
12
5
Roseland
6
10
4
Rogers Park
2
6
4
Logan Square
1
5
4
Hermosa
4
7
3
North Lawndale
13
15
2
Gage Park
10
11
1
Austin
15
14
-1
Albany Park
3
2
-1
East Garfield Park
11
9
-2
Englewood
16
13
-3
Brighton Park
8
4
-4
West Garfield Park
14
8
-6
Greater Grand Crossing
9
3
-6
Humboldt Park
12
1
-11
DATA SOURCES: YOUTH AND PARENT PROGRAM SURVEYS; ICJIA ANALYSIS OF DATA FROM THE CITY OF CHICAGO DATA PORTAL.

Figure 3

DIFFERENCE IN FEAR OF CRIME AND SOCIAL VULNERABILITY RANKINGS BY NEIGHBORHOOD (N=1,046)

DATA SOURCES: YOUTH AND PARENT PROGRAM SURVEYS; ICJIA ANALYSIS OF DATA FROM THE CITY OF CHICAGO DATA PORTAL.
NOTE: RATINGS ON A SCALE OF 1 (A VERY SMALL PROBLEM) TO 5 (A VERY BIG PROBLEM)

Residents of eight neighborhoods exhibited more fear of crime than expected, based on their levels of social vulnerability: Woodlawn, South Shore, Roseland, Rogers Park, Logan Square, Hermosa, North Lawndale, and Gage Park. Residents in eight neighborhoods has less fear of crime than expected, based on their levels of social vulnerability: Austin, Albany Park, East Garfield Park, Englewood, Brighton Park, West Garfield Park, Greater Grand Crossing, and Humboldt Park.

Conclusion

This study supported past research that has shown that social vulnerability is associated with fear of crime; however, the relationship uncovered in the current study was weak.[56] This study found that residents in eight of 16 Chicago neighborhoods exhibited a greater fear of crime than expected, when compared to their Social Vulnerability Index. Conversely, eight neighborhoods had less fear of crime than expected compared to their Social Vulnerability Index. Feelings of social vulnerability may serve to intensify concerns about crime and perceptions of risk. Living in areas characterized by crime and economic disadvantage is associated with higher levels of fear about crime, which may be a result of increased feelings of social vulnerability. Residents with lower levels of education and higher poverty are especially likely to experience increased fear of crime. [57] In addition, individuals living in urban areas are more likely to have increased fear and concerns about crime, as well as higher levels of perceived risk of victimization.

While some degree of fear plays a role in keeping one alert and aware of their surroundings, fear can be negative when it is disproportionate to the actual risk of victimization and exerts undue influence on one’s behavior, lifestyle, and well-being. Residents’ disproportionate fear may be harmful and ultimately contribute to depression and anxiety. For youth, fear of neighborhood crime can have lasting consequences on future outlooks and behavior.

This research suggests a need for reductions in fear of crime among city residents. Criminal justice officials should actively supply the public with information about risk of victimization that is specific to geographic area and type of offense so that residents can develop more accurate perceptions of risk and crime in their local community. Civic engagement of neighborhood residents can also help reduce fear of crime. This may include the creation and empowerment of stronger bonds and social networks among community members, such as church groups, sports teams, and mentoring programs. Community green spaces and gardens have been shown to increase the feeling of safety for neighborhood residents while also reducing vacant areas that can attract illegal activity. Community policing—which involves community residents working with police departments—can help residents feel safer and improve support for police.

Study Limitations and Areas for Future Study

The final sample examined residents of 16 communities (out of over 70) in Chicago because it was a convenience sample pulled from a survey originally used for program evaluation. This information is not generalizable to all residents of those neighborhoods. Subjects were a subset of the population, as all were willing to participate in a paid self-improvement program. Survey data was collected post-participation, so participants in the program may have had improved perceptions after the program. The study also relied on self-reported data, so subjects may have forgotten or omitted information.

In addition, defining and measuring fear of crime has proven difficult for researchers.[58] The present study utilized the “concerns about crime” conceptualization of fear of crime, assessing the frequency or severity of neighborhood conditions and occurrences. Skogan noted that measures asking individuals to rank “how big a problem” various conditions or occurrences are in their neighborhood, are often used to measure levels of disorder but more likely indicate the perceived impact each item has on the respondent. [59] These types of measures may be susceptible to respondent bias.

This study did not collect information on or examine whether there were any interactions between individual characteristics and neighborhood conditions that might contribute to increased fear of crime in neighborhoods characterized by lower levels of social vulnerability. Respondents were asked limited demographic questions and completed the survey anonymously. Additional research could further understanding of individual characteristics and fear of crime, as well as how concerns about neighborhood conditions impact residents over time.


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  42. Schwab-Stone, M., Chen, C., Greenberger, E., Silver, D., Lichtman, J., & Voyce, C. (1999). No safe haven: II. The effects of violence exposure on urban youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 359–367. ↩︎
  43. Schwab-Stone, M., Chen, C., Greenberger, E., Silver, D., Lichtman, J., & Voyce, C. (1999). No safe haven: II. The effects of violence exposure on urban youth. Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, 38, 359–367. ↩︎
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  50. Harvard Youth Violence Prevention Center (n.d.). Boston data project. Retrieved from http://bit.ly/1TWSiFB/; Rothman, E. F., Johnson, R. M., Young, R., Weinberg, J., Azrael, D., & Molnar, B.E. (2011). Neighborhood-level factors associated with physical dating violence perpetration: Results of a representative survey conducted in Boston, MA. Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, 88, 201-213. ↩︎
  51. Reichert, J., & Ridge, H. (2015a). Evaluation of the 2014 Community Violence Prevention Program’s Parent Program. Chicago, IL: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.: Reichert, J. & Ridge, H. (2015b). Evaluation of the 2014 Community Violence Prevention Program’s Youth Employment Program. Chicago, IL: Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. ↩︎
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  53. Dircksen, J. C., & Prachand, N.G. (2016). Healthy Chicago 2.0. Chicago, IL: Chicago Department of Public Health. ↩︎
  54. Note: The City of Chicago Data Portal does not include murder in its violent crime data. ↩︎
  55. Note: Hermosa neighborhood social vulnerability score was used for the combined community program in Hermosa and Belmont Cragin. Averaged scores were used to create the social vulnerability score for Gage Park and Chicago Lawn. ↩︎
  56. Ferraro, K. F. (1995). Fear of crime: Interpreting victimization risk. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.; LaGrange, R., Ferraro, K., & Supanic, M. (1992). Perceived risk and fear of crime: Role of social and physical incivilities. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, 29, 311-314.; Skogan, W. (1990). Disorder and decline: Crime and the spiral of decay in American cities. New York: Free Press.; Skogan, W., & Maxfield, M. G. (1981). Coping with crime: Individual and neighborhood reactions. Beverly Hills: Sage. ↩︎
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  59. Skogan, W. (1999). “Measuring What Matters: Crime, Disorder, and Fear.” In Measuring What Matters: Proceedings from the Policing Research Institute Meetings, ed. R. Langworthy. Research Report. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, NCJ 170610. ↩︎

This project was supported by Award No. 13-DJ-BX-0012 awarded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance, Department of Justice. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of Justice or the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

Kaitlyn Konefal

Kaitlyn Konefal joined ICJIA as an R&A intern in August 2016. She is a recent graduate of Loyola University Chicago, where she obtained bachelor’s degrees in Psychology and Criminal Justice & Criminology. She is particularly interested in issues related to sentencing, correctional policy, prosecutorial decision-making and plea-bargaining, and intersectionality and social inequalities in justice system processing.

Jessica Reichert

Jessica Reichert manages ICJIA’s Center for Justice Research and Evaluation. Her research focus includes violence prevention, corrections and reentry, women inmates, and human trafficking. Her work received the Justice Research and Statistics Association’s Phillip Hoke award in 2011 for outstanding effort in applying empirical analysis to criminal justice policymaking. She has conducted numerous national and state presentations on criminal and juvenile justice issues. Prior to joining ICJIA, Jessica worked at the Office of the Illinois Attorney General and in 2005 received the Distinguished Service Award for her work on behalf of citizens of Illinois. She earned her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Bradley University and master’s degree in criminal justice from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Jessica is also a part-time Adjunct Instructor at Loyola University Chicago.

APPENDIX A: SOCIAL VULNERABILITY INDEX MEASURES IN 16 CHICAGO NEIGHBORHOODS

Community Area Name Percent Households Below Poverty Percentage 25+ Without High School Diploma Percentage 16+ Unemployed Percent Under Age 18, over 64 Per Capita Income (in dollars) Average Violent Offenses Social Vulnerability Index Score Rank (Out of 77)
Englewood
44.40
27.60
23.60
42.80
12,255.00
1,295.50
69.75
4
Austin
26.00
26.10
22.10
38.10
16,289.00
2,314.50
67.21
5
West Garfield Park
40.90
24.90
25.60
42.20
11,238.00
737.50
64.67
6
North Lawndale
39.60
28.20
17.60
41.30
12,752.00
1,067.83
62.89
9
Humboldt Park
33.40
34.60
15.00
38.80
13,588.00
1,164.83
61.36
11
East Garfield Park
40.60
24.70
18.20
43.80
12,922.00
735.50
60.92
12
Gage Park
23.75
42.55
15.30
39.90
12,968.00
770.67
59.27
13
Greater Grand Crossing
28.80
16.70
20.70
42.00
17,686.00
1,208.00
57.35
15
Brighton Park
22.60
44.40
12.90
39.50
13,545.00
323.33
54.79
20
South Shore
30.70
15.10
18.60
36.40
19,460.00
1,381.33
54.57
21
Roseland
19.00
17.10
18.70
42.20
17,912.00
1,175.67
53.26
23
Woodlawn
30.30
18.10
21.70
37.20
19,471.00
779.67
53.20
24
Hermosa
19.00
42.10
12.30
36.40
15,226.00
200.17
49.88
30
Albany Park
18.50
35.60
10.00
32.40
20,496.00
255.67
43.62
39
Rogers Park
22.60
17.90
7.90
27.30
24,248.00
506.33
35.98
51
Logan Square
16.90
15.00
8.00
26.50
30,417.00
620.83
32.42
57
DATA SOURCE: ICJIA ANALYSIS OF DATA FROM THE CITY OF CHICAGO DATA PORTAL.
NOTE: VIOLENT OFFENSES WERE AN AVERAGE OF ARRESTS 2005-2010
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