Stop, Frisk, Go: The Role of Policing within Gentrification in Austin, TX

Authors: Alison Villasana*,
Topics: Urban Geography, Human Rights, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Policing, Crime, Gentrification, Race, Texas, Displacement
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 19
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This research investigates the relationship between policing and gentrification in Austin, Texas by analyzing police reports by zip codes and American Community Survey demographic data. Austin is a city with a declining Black and Latinx population due to ongoing gentrification and displacement patterns. In 2019, Austin ranked number twenty-three on U.S. News’s safest places to live. The rising displacement of primarily Black and Latinx communities in the city have given rise to the question: Does policing in Austin signal or catalyze the onset of gentrification? I assess changing demographic patterns using race/ethnicity and household income information from the American Community Survey. I also use the Austin Police Department’s (APD) “Crime Stats listed by zip code” data. I use the information organized from these two databases to create heat maps that illustrate the intensification of rising property values and crime in Austin. After analyzing the visual overlap in the maps, the results indicate that changing demographics correlate with the highest increases in crime and policing. In this research, I theorize why gentrification and policing might be linked through a consideration of public policy and past studies that examine crime and gentrification. This project seeks to provide nuanced insight into the relationship between policing and gentrification in Austin.

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