A tale of three cities: Crime and displacement after Hurricane Katrina

Sean P. Varano, Joseph A. Schafer, Jeffrey M. Cancino, Scott Decker, Jack R. Greene

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations


When Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in August 2005, it greatly disrupted both the physical and social structures of that community. One consequence of the hurricane was the displacement of large numbers of New Orleans residents to other cities, including Houston, San Antonio, and Phoenix. There has been media speculation that such a grand-scale population displacement led to increased crime in communities that were recipient of large numbers of displaced New Orleans residents. This study was a case study of three cities with somewhat different experiences with Katrina's diaspora. Time series analysis was used to examine the pre- and post-Katrina trends in six Part I offenses (murder, robbery, aggravated assault, rape, burglary, and auto theft) to assess any impact of such large-scale population shifts on crime in host communities. Contrary to much popular speculation, only modest effects were found on crime. Social disorganization theory was used to frame both the analysis and the interpretation of these results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)42-50
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Criminal Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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