Exposure to Community Violence and Childhood Delinquency

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In: Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 52, No. 2, 2006


Community-level factors such as disadvantage, disorder, and disorganization have been linked to a variety of antisocial and illicit activities. Although crime and deviance tend to concentrate in areas with these characteristics, not all residents of disorganized neighborhoods participate in proscribed activities. This study examines the relationship between exposure to community violence and involvement in assaultive behavior and weapon carrying among a sample of at-risk youth. Findings demonstrate that controlling for the effects of neighborhood disadvantage as well as other common correlates of delinquency (e.g., family supervision and structure, school attachment, and peer delinquency), youth who witnessed more violence in their neighborhoods were more likely to self-report assaultive behavior and weapon carrying. This research has important implications for the study of delinquency by further identifying the social costs of community violence.