Neighborhood Street Activity and Exposure to Violence among Urban Adolescents

Christopher Browning, Ohio State University
Kathleen A. Cagney, University of Chicago

Exposure to violence among children and adolescents has been linked with a variety of negative health and behavioral outcomes. Drawing on Jacobs' (1961) discussion of the social control benefits of people on the street, we explore the link between neighborhood street activity and exposure to violence for a sample of youth ages 11 to 16 from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Results of multilevel models of severe violence exposure indicate that the proportion of neighborhood streets with people present exhibits a nonlinear association with exposure to violence. At low levels, increasing street activity is positively associated with violence exposure. Beyond a threshold, however, increasing street activity serves to reduce the likelihood of violence exposure.

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Presented in Poster Session 3