Crime, Suicide and Social Well-Being in Your State and City

Crime, Suicide and Social Well-Being in Your State and City

Crime, Suicide and Social Well-Being in Your State and City

Crime, Suicide and Social Well-Being in Your State and City

Excerpt

"Our city is noted as a city of fine residences, good schools, and strong churches--a good place to live." From thousands of sources one hears this theme in some form. Local citizens point with pride to their fine school buildings, their beautiful new auditorium, their expensive stadium. Or they take their visitor along tree-lined streets of magnificent residences, through their spacious parks.

These characteristics are desirable and may indicate a community's awareness of the welfare of all its citizens. But the student of living conditions and of social welfare must go further. He must look behind the beautiful facade; he must see how people live "on the other side of the tracks"; he must secure a balanced picture. For not until citizens recognize that the welfare of the whole community is affected by the living conditions of each part of it, will the general welfare be measurably improved. Conversely individual human welfare is a function of the general welfare.

The general viewpoint of this book is that cities and states differ in their specific social structures and cultural patterns-- their particular patterns of living together. These divergent patterns of living together in turn influence the degree of general social well-being and become factors in the development of different pathological patterns such as crime and suicide. In the following pages we will seek to demonstrate these differences.

The procedure has been that of taking the 48 states and three different groups of cities as separate units of study. Each group becomes a configuration in its own right to be treated as a dynamic system. As a consequence, each of the many index numbers is a result of comparing one city or state in a given characteristic with all the others in the whole to which it belongs, using the degree to which the group as a whole possesses that characteristic as a common denominator or measuring stick. As a further consequence, no one should expect a given city to have the same crime score, for example, as a member of different configurations.

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