New Book Highlights Purpose Built Communities & Role of Nonprofits in Lowering Crime

Crime has declined dramatically over the last two decades, and Patrick Sharkey, professor of sociology at New York University, argues that this drop can be attributed in part to the increase in the number of nonprofit organizations working to address urban poverty. Three recent articles showcase Sharkey’s research, particularly on the role of organizations such as Purpose Built Communities in reducing violent crime in American cities.

Patrick Sharkey, Associate Professor of Public Service, NYU Wagner; Professor, NYU Department of Sociology

Sharkey, who spoke at the 2015 conference in Ft. Worth and who has studied several members of the Purpose Built Network,  is the author of the newly published Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence. In it he argues that while most nonprofits operating in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods don’t identify themselves as crime prevention groups, an important by-product of their work has been lower crime rates, particularly murder. Sharkey submits that tapping into the talent and resources of local nonprofits can augment the work of law enforcement agencies which may not be particularly well trained to act as mentors, guidance counselors and family therapists.

Check out the three articles here:

The Great Crime Decline and the Comeback of Cities,” by Richard Florida, CityLab, January 16, 2018.


Two Lessons of the Urban Crime Decline,” by Patrick Sharkey, New York Times, January 13, 2018.


The Unsung Role that Ordinary Citizens Played in the Great Crime Decline,” by Emily Badger, New York Times, November 9, 2017.