Researchers evaluated the impact of Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) in Los Angeles on youth violence. Previous research showed that violence is higher in communities with high rates of family disruption, unemployment, concentrated poverty, and limited access to economic opportunities. Less research has identified specific actionable interventions that can change these community-level factors. BIDs used commercial property assessments to improve services such as sanitation, security, marketing, and planning. These services were expected to increase social cohesion and physical neighborhood improvements, which in turn would reduce rates of youth violence. The study aimed to test whether census tracts with BIDs had lower rates of youth violence than census tracts without BIDs; and whether the relations between BIDs and youth violence were mediated by improvements in social, physical, and/or economic characteristics of the communities.
Implementation of BIDs was associated with significant reductions in violent crimes most frequently committed by youth. There was a 12% drop in robbery (one type of violent crime) and an 8% drop in violent crime overall. Due to limitations in the availability of the data, it was not possible to determine whether the reductions in violent crime were attributable to acts committed by youth. However, the reductions associated with implementation of BIDs were for violent crimes are most likely to be committed by youth offenders. A cost analysis found that investments in BID neighborhoods resulted in cost savings due to reduced violent crime rates, reduced arrests, and lower prosecution-related expenditures. Researchers currently have a paper in press that examines changes in mortality rates between Los Angeles neighborhoods.
Federal Contact: Greta Massetti, 770-488-3943
Record ID: 9407 (Report issued August 31, 2010)