Uncertain Development: Chicago's Economic Incentives Slowly Decrease Homicides
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Chicago’s homicide rates remain elevated, with many interventions focused on improving neighborhood conditions. This research examines economic causes from the social disorganization theory model, which posits that a neighborhood’s socioeconomic factors shape its crime rates. Data for homicide rates and economic development activity from two city programs, Micro-Market Recovery Program (MMRP) permits and Tax Increment Financing (TIF) grants, was paired to each of Chicago’s 50 wards to study the relationship at a local level from 2003 through 2018. Using a fixed-effects panel regression model to understand effects in each ward over time, this study found that both programs decreased homicides. Despite having an effect realized 2 years later, for every 100 MMRP permits issued, homicides decreased by nearly two. TIF grant activity had the most robust effect; the program decreased homicides by 36 for every 100 TIF grants issued, realized after nearly a decade. Moreover, as homicides decreased, permits and grants increased, suggesting that the city limits economic development in wards continuously plagued with homicides.