NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Gun Violence In Public Housing

February 18, 2000

Crime is falling in public housing developments around the nation, but the 2.6 million Americans living in public housing are more than twice as likely to become victims of gun violence as the rest of the population, according to a Department of Housing and Urban Development report.

  • An estimated 10 out of every 1,000 residents of public housing are victimized annually by violent gun crimes, not including homicides.
  • This is more than twice the rate of gun violence for the nation as a whole -- 4 out of every 1,000 people.
  • In 66 of the nation's 100 largest housing authorities, there were 360 homicides in 1998, and a larger group of more than 550 housing authorities had an estimated 296 gun-related homicides in the first six months of 1999 alone.

Public housing authorities around the country have spent more than $4 billion in HUD funds on crime reduction and prevention since 1990 to deal with gun violence and other crimes.

There is a strong correlation between income and violent crime, notes the HUD report. The average household income of public housing residents is about $9,500 annually.

Source: "In The Crossfire: The Impact of Gun Violence on Public Housing Communities," February 16, 2000, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.


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