Exploiting the arrangement of railroad tracks in northern cities, we explore the extent to which segregation impacts homicide victimization by race. Our results reveal a robust positive relationship between segregation and non-white homicide victimization. In addition, we find that the lack of public provisions is likely driving our results, as highly segregated locations generate fewer revenues and have lower public expenditures. Our findings suggest that white flight and segregation deplete the local tax base, leading to urban decay and higher crime, resulting in the loss of non-white lives.

In this paper, we examine the relationship between residential racial segregation and violent
crime using a causal inference approach. Overall, we find evidence that residential racial segregation leads to an increase in homicides of non-white residents. This is largely consistent with prior
literature establishing a positive association between residential segregation and violent crime (Peterson and Krivo, 1993; Massey, 1995; Shihadeh and Maume, 1997; Bjerk, 2006). While we find no
effect of residential segregation on white homicides, it may be that racial residential segregation
acts as an economic protectionist policy for white Americans, ensuring for them lower levels of
economic uncertainty (Massey, 1995; Light and Thomas, 2019). Nonetheless, we uncover a causal
link between segregation and non-white homicide victimization, providing new evidence that the
detrimental effects of segregation impose a high and lasting cost on Black lives.

Read the full article about segregation and public safety by Robynn Cox, Jamein Cunningham, Alberto Ortega, and Kenneth Whaley at Equitable Growth.