Sunday, December 22, 2019

Why Has Greensboro Become So Violent?

If you don't already know, Greensboro saw record murder rates in 2019 and people are wondering why. To get to the bottom of what breeds violence I decided to look into what breeds violence in other cities across the nation. Here are some of the things I learned.

From the Chicago Tribune in an article entitled, Why is there so much shooting and killing in Chicago?

“We are not just the most segregated city in America, but the level of concentrated poverty we have in our neighborhoods is unlike anything in Los Angeles or New York. You would not find an Englewood or Garfield Park anywhere in Los Angeles and New York.”

Next we go to The Hill with an article entitled, Violence is a symptom of poverty, not a cause:

"According to the most recent census data for Baltimore, the poverty rate is 24 percent. A quarter of a city that is 63 percent black. Of those people in poverty, only six percent will ever escape it in their lifetime. When you need to pay rent, or feed your family, or just find something to eat yourself, and there is nowhere else to turn, the poor turn to crime, and that usually means selling drugs.

The illegal drug trade is fueling most of the violence that’s occurring in the streets of Baltimore and in the streets of most other cities that face the same problem. There aren’t a lot of positive outcomes once you enter the drug game. Usually, it means prison, which is another of the main forces that drives poverty. If it’s hard to get a job coming from poverty, coming from prison it is almost impossible, and so to survive you return to selling drugs, and on and on it goes."

Now two articles certainly doesn't establish a trend so I went on to see what academics have to say about it and in this abstract from a study called Poverty and Violence it appears academia is in agreement that violence is a symptom of poverty:

"Poverty is widely believed to cause violence. The general public treats this notion as a truism, and most academics also accept it as such. Debates among the latter tend to be over which social mechanisms cause poverty to affect violence. But there are other positions to be sure. Poverty has been linked to violence in a number of ways. Most scholars as well as lay persons believe that those who live in poverty more frequently engage in acts of violence as a consequence of conditions that they are subjected to. There is, however, disagreement among scholars about which conditions are important and how and why they lead to violence. These conditions may include poor housing (Stark, 1987), distressed neighborhood (Krivo & Peterson, 1996), and disrupted families (Sampson & Groves, 1989). Living conditions of this sort are ordinarily defined as social structural consequences of poverty. While this structural approach has usually viewed poverty as the independent variable and violence as the dependent, some scholars have also argued that violence can cause poverty at the aggregate level by creating an unstable or dangerous environment which is not conducive to economic development or growth (Staley, 1992). It may also be that those who are financially better off will move out of areas with high rates of violence leaving only those who are economically unable to relocate (Wilson, 1996)."

So what are economic conditions like in Greensboro? Well let me just put it to you this way. The December 5, 2019 Scott Yost article in the Rhino Times, entitled Officials Charged Up Over New Battery Plant In East Greensboro, is tagged as Satire.

And very poorly written satire at that.

So what is the Greensboro City Council doing about the poverty that is the root cause of the increasing violence in Greensboro?