Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence (Paperback)

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“Admirably connects two stories about the criminal legal system that are usually told separately. One is that the country that Americans live in is safer than it has been for a long time. The other story is that for some citizens, especially African-American men, the country that they live in is not free.” —Paul Butler, New York Times Book Review


From the late ’90s to the mid-2010s, American cities experienced an astonishing drop in violent crime, dramatically changing urban life. In many cases, places once characterized by decay and abandonment are now thriving, the fear of death by gunshot wound replaced by concern about skyrocketing rents.


In Uneasy Peace, Patrick Sharkey, “the leading young scholar of urban crime and concentrated poverty” (Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis) reveals the striking effects: improved school test scores, because children are better able to learn when not traumatized by nearby violence; better chances that poor children will rise into the middle class; and a marked increase in the life expectancy of African American men.


Some of the forces that brought about safer streets—such as the intensive efforts made by local organizations to confront violence in their own communities—have been positive, Sharkey explains. But the drop in violent crime has also come at the high cost of aggressive policing and mass incarceration. From Harlem to South Los Angeles, Sharkey draws on original data and textured accounts of neighborhoods across the country to document the most successful proven strategies for combating violent crime and to lay out innovative and necessary approaches to the problem of violence. At a time when crime is rising again, the issue of police brutality has taken center stage, and powerful political forces seek to disinvest in cities, the insights in this book are indispensable.



About the Author


Patrick Sharkey is professor and chair of the Department of Sociology at New York University. He is also scientific director of Crime Lab New York, an independent organization dedicated to applying and evaluating new methods for addressing crime, violence, and poverty.

Praise For…


Fascinating and provocative.
— Los Angeles Times

Insightful and engaging.… An excellent introduction to America’s up-and-down urban-violence roller-coaster ride.
— Edward Glaeser - Wall Street Journal

Admirably connects two stories about the criminal legal system that are usually told separately. One is that the country that Americans live in is safer than it has been for a long time. The other story is that for some citizens, especially African-American men, the country that they live in is not free.
— Paul Butler - New York Times Book Review

Uneasy Peace has enhanced my understanding of the decline in urban violent crime. Compelling too is Sharkey’s discussion of ways to avert a possible new wave of national violence. This well-written and carefully researched book is a must-read for anyone residing in our nation’s cities.

— William Julius Wilson, author of More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City

Patrick Sharkey explains with accessible precision just how much the massive decline in homicide since the 1990s has mattered to the most vulnerable of city-dwellers, African American men. Sharkey also makes clear why this public health triumph is precarious.… Any student of cities will regard this book as essential reading.
— Tracey L. Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School

Patrick Sharkey is the leading young scholar of urban crime and concentrated poverty.… Uneasy Peace is a must-read for mayors, city-builders, urbanists, and all those concerned with building and living in great urban places.

— Richard Florida, author of The Rise of the Creative Class and The New Urban Crisis


Product Details
ISBN: 9780393356540
ISBN-10: 039335654X
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: February 5th, 2019
Pages: 272
Language: English