Understanding Environmental Factors that Affect Violence in Salinas, California   [open pdf - 1MB]

"When a community is plagued by violence, the natural tendency is to determine how to change or reduce the violence levels. In the process, an equally important question of why violence occurs is often overlooked. This thesis analyzes the why with respect to violence levels in Salinas, California. In order to determine specific environmental factors that affect violence in Salinas, the authors postulate nine broad independent variables (IVs) for analysis: Economy; Population; Housing; Education; Police Force; Prison Influence; Gang Rivalry; Social Service Programs; and Community Involvement. These independent variables were compared to the violence rate per capita in Salinas to determine which environmental factors influence violence in Salinas. Although data was not available for all of the IVs, the authors determined that the following factors influence violence in Salinas: the unemployment rate, average persons per household, vacant housing units, housing units per capita, the high school dropout rate, the high school graduation rate, the school average daily attendance, and the school budget. To lower overall violence levels, officials in Salinas should focus on: reducing the unemployment rate, the number of vacant housing units, and the high school dropout rate; and increasing the high school graduation rate and average daily attendance."

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