Historical background on deprived people
That said, there is no gainsaying the fact that both many colonial administrators and Christian missionaries took on their colonial duties with a fierce determination to do good. Britain's status as the financial capital of the world also secured investment inflows which preserved its immense prosperity. One has only to walk along Liverpool's waterfront and view the exceptional 'Three Graces', the Mersey Docks and Harbour Board, Royal Liver and Cunard buildings planned and erected in the decade or so after Victoria's death, to understand the centrality of commerce and overseas trade in making Britain the world's greatest power during the 19th century.
Liverpool's status as a World Heritage City is fitting testament to a period when Britain did indeed 'rule the waves'. Victoria came to the throne during the early, frenetic phase of the world's first industrial revolution. Industrialisation brought with it new markets, a consumer boom and greater prosperity for most of the propertied classes. It also brought rapid, and sometimes chaotic change as towns and cities expanded at a pace which precluded orderly growth.
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Desperately poor housing conditions, long working hours, the ravages of infectious disease and premature death were the inevitable consequence. The Victorians wrestled with this schizoid legacy of industrialism. The Victorian town symbolised Britain's progress and world pre-eminence, but it also witnessed some of the most deprived people, and depraved habits, in the civilised world. Taming, and then improving, Britain's teeming cities presented a huge challenge. Mortality data revealed that, in the poorer quarters of Britain's larger cities, almost one child in five born alive in the s and s had died by the age of five.
Polluted water and damp housing were the main causes. Death rates in Britain as a whole remained obstinately above 20 per thousand until the s and only dropped to 17 by the end of Victoria's reign. Life expectancy at birth, in the high 30s in , had crept up to 48 by One of the great scourges of the age - tuberculosis - remained unconquered, claiming between 60, and 70, lives in each decade of Victoria's reign.
Despite substantial medical advances and well-informed campaigns, progress in public health was desperately slow in Victoria's reign. This had much to do with healthy scepticism about the opinions of experts, particularly when those experts advocated greater centralised state interference in what they considered to be the proper sphere of local authorities and agencies.
Furthermore, state involvement meant higher taxes and higher taxes were said to hamper both business and job creation. Localism undoubtedly stymied many public health initiatives at least until the last two decades of the reign. The Victorian era saw considerable expenditure on monuments to civic pride.
The competitive ethic which drove so much business enterprise was channelled by local worthies into spending on opulent town halls and other civic buildings. By no means all of these were intended for the use of a propertied elite. Libraries, wash-houses and swimming baths were all funded as part of a determination to provide working people with the means to improve themselves. Civic identity and civic engagement were more powerful forces in Victorian than in early 20th-century Britain.
Nor were the Victorian middle and upper classes parsimonious over charitable giving. These national organisations were multiplied several-fold by local charities. Christian gentlemen considered it a duty to make legacies to worthy causes. True, much of this giving came with strings. Most Victorian charities were aimed at those sections of the working classes disposed towards helping themselves. Its overall impact, however, should not be underestimated.
The United Kingdom's population at Victoria's accession in was about At her death in , it had risen to 41 million. These figures, however, mask an enormous contrast. This stark contrast is explained by two linked factors. Ireland, the Protestant north east around Belfast excepted, did not experience an industrial revolution in the Victorian age. It also endured a devastating famine from - , the result of a failed potato crop among a peasant population dangerously dependent on one food source for sheer existence.
Concentrated collective poverty
Ireland lost more than one million people to the ravages of famine in the s. It lost far more over the next half century to the steady drip of emigration to Britain, the Americas and Australia. This ticking demographic timebomb had far-reaching consequences.
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Large numbers of Irish Catholics - both those who stayed and those who left - blamed the British government for the famine and saw in it the ultimate proof that the Act of Union had been a ruse from which Britain benefited and for which Ireland continued to suffer. The famine extinguished any realistic hope that the Irish, like the Scots a century earlier, might come to realise the economic, commercial and cultural benefits of political union with a larger and more prosperous national partner.
Inevitably, 'home rule' campaigns grew in both numbers and violence in the second half of Victoria's reign. These also impacted massively on British politics. His Liberal party's split on home rule for Ireland in began the long process of marginalisation of the political party which dominated much of the queen's reign. Ireland would not get home rule in Victoria's lifetime, but it set the political agenda unlike any other issue. What, finally, of the Victorian political structure?
It is easy to see that it was far from democratic. At the beginning of Victoria's reign, about a fifth of adult males were entitled to vote. That proportion increased, through parliamentary reform acts passed in and , to one-third and two-thirds respectively. No women could legally vote in parliamentary elections until almost 18 years after Victoria's death - and the queen herself was no suffragist.
No consensus exists on a single cause for the massive American decline in crime. In , the Brennan Center for Justice reviewed evidence on theories to explain the decline, finding that such factors as an aging population, consumer confidence, decreased alcohol consumption, income growth, increased rates of incarceration, and increased policing all likely contributed. At the same time, African Americans and Hispanics are more likely to be victims of violent crimes — especially serious violent crimes — than are whites, although the gap has narrowed over the past 10 years fig.
Although evidence indicates that neighborhood characteristics contribute to these disparities, none of the major national sources of crime data provide comprehensive information at the neighborhood level.
Researchers usually define neighborhoods according to census tracts, which include from 1, to 8, people and are drawn to reflect visible community boundaries. One particularly expansive national source for neighborhood-level crime data is the National Neighborhood Crime Study NNCS , which collects street crime data reported to police for the year from 9, nationally representative neighborhoods in 91 large cities.
These differences in crime rates are linked to structural disparities: segregated neighborhoods also tend to be disadvantaged and lack access to community resources, institutions, and means of social control such as effective policing as well as social trust. Disadvantaged, segregated communities have experienced a large portion of the national decline in violent crime but remain disproportionally affected by high violent crime rates. Petersburg, Florida — over the past decade or longer.
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Similarly, poor neighborhoods, majority African-American, and majority Hispanic neighborhoods narrowed the gap between them and other neighborhoods. But although overall violent crime rates have declined substantially, the distribution of violent crime remains about the same: the communities that were initially the most violent generally remained the most violent. In all six cities, the most violent fifth of neighborhoods still experienced more violent crime than the second most violent fifth of neighborhoods experienced before the decline.
Similarly, Lens et al. Much violent crime may also occur within narrow social networks. Neighborhood Characteristics and Violent Crime. These characteristics can be both the cause and result of violent crime. Poverty, Segregation, and Inequality. Neighborhoods with more concentrated disadvantage tend to experience higher levels of violent crime. Numerous studies, for instance, show that neighborhoods with higher poverty rates tend to have higher rates of violent crime. Racially and ethnically segregated neighborhoods also tend to have higher rates of violent crime. In particular, spatial disadvantage — that is, adverse characteristics such as poverty or crime among nearby neighborhoods — appears to drive disparities in local crime rates between these neighborhoods.
Overview: Victorian Britain, 1837 - 1901
In many communities of color, troubled relationships with law enforcement — linked to aggressive tactics and the disproportionate prosecution of drug crimes — hinder efforts to address violent crime. Collective Efficacy, Disorder, Trust, and Institutions. Collective efficacy, defined as social cohesion among neighbors and their willingness to intervene on behalf of the common good, appears to be an important determinant of violent crime in neighborhoods. After controlling for individual and family factors, Sharkey found that Chicago youth who live in neighborhoods with concentrated disadvantage and low collective efficacy have lower street efficacy, and those with higher street efficacy are less likely to resort to violence or associate with delinquent peers.
Collective efficacy is linked to disorder, such as garbage in the streets or broken windows. Rigorous research suggests that disorder, however, might ultimately be a product of root causes such as the concentration of disadvantage and low collective efficacy, which also lead to crime. Sampson found that Chicago neighborhoods with more connected leadership, as demonstrated by social ties between leaders, tend to have much lower homicide rates even controlling for factors such as concentrated disadvantage. Job Access. Job access can help explain variations in crime types across urban neighborhoods.
One study of Atlanta in the early s examined job opportunity for youth in neighborhoods, including whether jobs were geographically accessible, whether youth would be qualified to hold them, and the level of competition for those jobs. This study found that poor job opportunity was closely linked with neighborhood-level crime, although more closely to property crime than violent crime. Numerous studies show that immigration is strongly associated with lower rates of violent crime. This is because homicide flares among people who are trapped and economically interdependent, not among people who are highly mobile.
Multiple studies have found that foreclosures increase violent crime on nearby blocks.
Vacancies and evictions can also lead to violent crime by destabilizing communities and creating venues for crime. A study of Pittsburgh found that violent crime increased by 19 percent within feet of a newly vacant foreclosed home and that the crime rate increased the longer the property remained vacant. Land Use and the Built Environment.