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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Spatial Processes and the Relationship between Gentrification and Disparate Policing: An Analysis of New York City and Los Angeles

  • Author(s): Laniyonu, Ayobami
  • Advisor(s): Handcock, Mark S
  • et al.

Current literature debates the desirability of urban revitalization and gentrification for cities. While municipal revitalization of central cities --- and the influx of well-educated and higher income individuals typically associated with it --- can revive moribund and marginalized communities, both processes are associated with heightening inequality and adverse outcomes for the poor and for racial or ethnic minorities. This thesis explores one such negative outcome: the extent to which the gentrification is associated with discriminatory policing practices. Specifically, it tests whether gentrification is associated with more order maintenance policing (OMP) --- a policing strategy that targets low-level, highly discretionary offenses such as disorderly behavior and disturbing the peace, and which historically has targeted the poor and minority groups. Pushing the limitations of the extant literature, this thesis tests whether the relationship between gentrification and OMP ought to be understood as a fundamentally spatial process, and considers a suite of spatial models for the relationship between gentrification and policing as the consequence of endogenous and exogenous spatial interactions, as well as test for omitted spatial variables. Data from both New York City and Los Angeles are collected and analyzed. Results and implications are discussed.

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