Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name





Richard Alba

Committee Members

Lynn Chancer

Ruth Wilson Gilmore

Michael Jacobson

Jeremy Porter

Subject Categories

Criminology | Place and Environment | Race and Ethnicity


In this dissertation, I analyze trends in low-level policing between 1990 and 2015. I explore how three contextual changes may have shaped policing during this time: gentrification, fiscal crisis, and the suburbanization of poverty and of people of color. I ask four interrelated research questions: How widely did “broken windows” policing, with its emphasis on misdemeanor arrests, diffuse? Do police make more stops and arrests in neighborhoods undergoing gentrification? Do local governments experiencing revenue shortfalls cut their criminal justice functions to save money, or do they increase them to reassert social order? Did the suburbanization of poverty and of people of color lead police to make more or more racially disproportionate arrests in suburbs? To address these questions, I assemble three novel, longitudinal datasets using publicly available government data. I convey descriptive statistics in graphs, tables, and maps and I construct multivariate regression models to estimate the relationships between policing and place. I build on past theories, especially those exploring the political economy, racial threat, and crime control of policing.