Archive for the ‘Crime Economics’ Category
A simplistic and misleading account of Trenton’s budget dilemma.
That said, listening to it at least paints the picture of the problem. We don’t have a collective understanding of the problem or the solutions. There’s a leadership vacuum around the subject of revitalizing Trenton.
This inspires me to help in the organization efforts for Trenton’s new political group, “The Majority for a Better Trenton”.
In Part 1 of “The State’s Role in Fixing Trenton” I argued that New Jersey should fund a portion of Trenton’s revenue and I presented a simple calculation for a fair funding level, $70M. However, there are several big changes that only the state can make that will truly re-invent Trenton’s economy and potentially all of New Jersey’s urban centers.
Over the years, state and federal governments have adopted policies favoring the creation of suburbs: most notably road building, tax advantaged mortgages for single family homes and electrification. Technology also played an important role in making urban centers less important as telecommunications, trains, power generation and eventually container shipping spread manufacturing out of town. 
These policies and technologies, among others, led to urban decline over the last 50 years. Urban renewal and the riots in the late 60s were just nails in the coffin.
These are powerful mega-trends but their influence is waning and new mega-trends are taking over: Read the rest of this entry »
Reinvent Trenton is published to help policy makers and voters think about Trenton’s issues and how to resolve them. The site introduces new ideas, it presents data and it offers what I hope are constructive plans to revitalize the city. Quite a bit of what you read on the site comes straight out of business, economics and public policy reading that I’ve done. The idea is to interpret academic ideas and apply their central concepts to our situation here in the River City. Read the rest of this entry »
If you ask a Trentonian about their number one city issue, crime will probably come up. Yet we don’t really seem to have any clue about its measurable affects on our city or how to manage them.
Previously, I wrote about the cause and effect of a city’s crime level and it’s immigration level ( How Crime Affects Trenton). However, this is a very small part of the story. First, we have to agree on what it is about a city that we’d like to improve. In general, the best measure of a city’s health is its per capita income. Cities with high crime rates have low per capita incomes and vice-a-versa (The Economics of Crime).
All Trentonians know that our high crime rate isn’t good for the economy. However, not many of us know just how bad it is. It turns out that economists have studied the subject and have asked themselves that very question.
In “CRIME, URBAN FLIGHT, AND THE CONSEQUENCES FOR CITIES”, economists Julie Berry Cullen and Steven D. Levitt worked through quite a bit of crime, census and other data in addition to third party research to build up an econometric model of the effects of crime. It’s worth noting that Steven Levitt later went on to write Freakonomics which is referenced in my earlier article on the economics of crime.
I’ve provided a link to the article but I’ve summarize it fairly simply below. I’ll warn readers of the report in advance that this is an academic paper and some of the conclusions it draws are a bit disturbing to the politically correct mind. Read the rest of this entry »
One of, if the not the biggest thing holding back revitalization in American cities is crime.
The facts speak for themselves – cities with high crime rates generally have poor growth rates. Cities that have somehow improved their crime rate do much better.
New York and Washington, DC are great examples of cities that have aggressively attacked their crime issues and have unleashed unprecedented economic growth. Washington used to be the most dangerous city in America and New York was supposed to be leading the country into chaos.
Looking just at New Jersey, two cities, New Brunswick and Newark are overcoming their crime issues and generating positive population growth. Meanwhile, Asbury Park, Trenton and Camden continue to scare their populations away.
Lot’s of people have lots of things to say about crime. The police say they do all they can and blame the courts for a revolving door justice system or the public for not cooperating. Children’s advocates blame lack of after-school programs. Civil rights leaders blame racism. Parents blame everybody and Bill Cosby blames parents.