Catholic Schools and Broken Windows

Journal of Empirical Legal Studies Volume 9, Issue 2, 347–367, June 2012

Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 10-04

22 Pages Posted: 5 Mar 2010 Last revised: 8 Jun 2012

Margaret F. Brinig

Notre Dame Law School

Nicole Stelle Garnett

Notre Dame Law School

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: February 14, 2011

Abstract

Our previous work has suggested that the closure of Catholic elementary schools generates disorder and suppresses social cohesion in urban neighborhoods — findings that support the conclusion that Catholic elementary schools create neighborhood social capital. We extend our inquiry here by asking if Catholic school closures might also affect crime rates. Using factors independent from neighborhood indicators, specifically school and parish leadership characteristics, we created an exogenous factor that predicted which Catholic schools might close in urban Chicago, and used that factor, with sociodemographic variables, to predict police-beat-level crime rates. We find that Catholic school closures slow the rate of decline of crime in a police beat compared to beats with no Catholic school closure. We also find that higher perceived disorder predicted higher initial levels of crime. Our findings provide insight into which policing policies are effective and the benefits of involving religious institutions in crime-prevention efforts. They also lend support to “school-choice”
mechanisms, such as vouchers or tax credits, that would provide financial resources to students attending urban Catholic schools.

Keywords: schools, education policy, crime, causes of crime, social capital, disorder, Chicago, Catholic, empirical, urban, cities, churches

Suggested Citation

Brinig, Margaret F. and Garnett, Nicole Stelle, Catholic Schools and Broken Windows (February 14, 2011). Journal of Empirical Legal Studies Volume 9, Issue 2, 347–367, June 2012 ; Notre Dame Legal Studies Paper No. 10-04. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1564254 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1564254

Margaret Friedlander Brinig (Contact Author)

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
3157 Eck Hall of Law
Notre Dame, IN 46556-0780
United States
574-631-2303 (Phone)
574-631=8078 (Fax)

Nicole Stelle Garnett

Notre Dame Law School ( email )

P.O. Box 780
Notre Dame, IN 46556
United States
574-631-3091 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.nd.edu/faculty/facultypages/garnettn.html

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