Policing Gentrification

The Financial Geography of Law Enforcement Practices in Philadelphia

  • Jackson L Smith New York University
  • Vanessa Massaro Bucknell University
  • Greg Miller Bucknell University, ‘18
Keywords: Gentrification, policing, property, Philadelphia

Abstract

By contributing to dispossession along the gentrification “frontier,” “broken windows” policing advances the territorial conquest of Black and Latinx neighborhoods. Enlarging the growing body of scholarship which examines the racialized effects of broken windows policing in U.S. cities, we scrutinize the geographical relationship between “broken windows” policing and gentrification in Philadelphia. Building on Neil Smith’s spatial analysis of the gentrification “frontier,” we examine the spatial pattern of broken windows policing to better understand how it interacts with the expansion of gentrification. We use mixed quantitative and qualitative methods to explore how the geographical relationship between gentrifying (or adjacent-to-gentrifying) neighborhoods and broken windows policing strategies. We then examine how these strategies contribute to racialized dispossession and displacement. The strategies we analyze—order-maintenance arrests and real property forfeitures—clearly reveal how police intervene into the financial geography of redeveloping neighborhoods.

References

Adams, Carolyn, David Bartelt, David Elesh, Ira Goldstein, Nancy Kleniewski, and William Yancey. 1993. Philadelphia: Neighborhoods, Divisions and Conflict in a Postindustrial City. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Adelman, Jacob, and Craig R. McCoy. 2019. “In Gentrifying Philly, Speculators Pay Heirs Peanuts--Then Flip Their Properties for Massive Gains.” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 27, 2019.

Ansfield, Bench. 2020. “The Broken Windows of the Bronx: Putting the Theory in Its Place.” American Quarterly 72 (1): 103–27.

Autonomous Tenants Union. 2018. “Policing and Gentrification: Mass Displacement and the ‘Community Watch.’” It’s Going Down (blog). May 28, 2018. https://itsgoingdown.org/policing-and-gentrification-mass-displacement-and-the-community-watch/.

Baldwin, Davarian L. 2021. In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities Are Plundering Our Cities. New York, NY: Bold Type Books.

Baradaran, Mehrsa. 2015. How the Other Half Banks: Exclusion, Exploitation, and the Threat to Democracy. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Beckett, Katherine, and Steve Herbert. 2011. Banished: The New Social Control In Urban America. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Bhandar, Brenna. 2015. “Title by Registration: Instituting Modern Property Law and Creating Racial Value in the Settler Colony.” Journal of Law and Society 42 (2).

Blomley, Nicholas. 2003. Unsettling the City: Urban Land and the Politics of Property. New York: Routledge.

Bonds, Anne. 2018. “Race and Ethnicity I: Property, Race, and the Carceral State.” Progress in Human Geography N/A (N/A): 1–10.

Bowen-Gaddy, Evan. 2018. “Mapping Philly’s Black Homeownership Gap.” WHYY (blog). March 6, 2018. https://whyy.org/articles/mapping-philly-s-black-homeownership-gap/.

Bratton, William J., and Rudolph W. Giuliani. 1994. “Police Strategy No. 5: Reclaiming the Public Spaces of New York.” New York, New York: New York Police Department.

Briggs, Ryan. 2016. “When ‘Gentrification’ Is Really a Shift in Racial Boundaries.” CityLab (blog). August 1, 2016. https://www.citylab.com/equity/2016/08/gentrification-race-boundary-philadelphia/493313/.

Cahill, Caitlin, Brett G. Stoudt, María Elena Torre, Darian X, Amanda Matles, Kimberly Belmonte, Selma Djokovic, Jose Lopez, and Adilka Pimentel. 2019. “‘They Were Looking at Us Like We Were Bad People’: Growing Up Policed in the Gentrifying, Still Disinvested City.” ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies 18 (5): 1128–49.

Camp, Jordan T., and Christina Heatherton, eds. 2016. Policing the Planet: Why the Policing Crisis Led to Black Lives Matter. London; New York: Verso.

Clay, Denise. 2017. “A Celebration of Resilience in a Changed Neighborhood.” Philadelphia Magazine, June 9, 2017. https://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/06/09/odunde-festival-philadelphia/.

Connolly, N. D. B. 2014. A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Cuomo, Dana, and Vanessa A. Massaro. 2014. “Boundary-Making in Feminist Research: New Methodologies for ‘Intimate Insiders.’” Gender, Place & Culture, no. ahead-of-print: 1–13.

Ding, Lei, Jackelyn Hwang, and Eileen Divringi. 2015. “Gentrification and Residential Mobility in Philadelphia.” SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 2675379. Rochester, NY: Social Science Research Network. https://papers.ssrn.com/abstract=2675379.

Fayyad, Abdallah. 2017. “The Criminalization of Gentrifying Neighborhoods.” The Atlantic, December 20, 2017. https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/12/the-criminalization-of-gentrifying-neighborhoods/548837/.

Garland, David. 2002. The Culture of Control: Crime and Social Order in Contemporary Society. Chicago: University Of Chicago Press.

Gibson, Timothy. 2004. Securing the Spectacular City: The Politics of Revitalization and Homelessness in Downtown Seattle. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Gilmore, Ruth Wilson. 2002. “Fatal Couplings of Power and Difference: Notes on Racism and Geography.” The Professional Geographer 54 (1): 15–24.

———. 2007. Golden Gulag: Prisons, Surplus, Crisis, and Opposition in Globalizing California. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Gottschalk, Marie. 2015. Caught: The Prison State and the Lockdown of American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Harcourt, Bernard E. 2005. Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken Windows Policing. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.

Harris, Alexes. 2016. A Pound of Flesh: Monetary Sanctions as Punishment for the Poor. New York: Russell Sage Foundation.

Harvey, David. 2005. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.

Hillier, Amy E. 2005. “Residential Security Maps and Neighborhood Appraisals: The Home Owners’ Loan Corporation and the Case of Philadelphia.” Social Science History 29 (2): 207–33.

Hwang, Jackelyn, Lei Ding, and Eileen Divringi. 2016. “Gentrification Measures for Philadelphia Census Tracts.” Harvard Dataverse. https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/ZQP2XQ.

Jashnani, Gaurav, Priscilla Bustamante, and Brett G. Stoudt. 2020. “Dispossession by Accumulation: The Impacts of Discretionary Arrests in New York City.” Race and Justice 10 (3): 269–96.

Karandinos, George, Laurie Kain Hart, Fernando Montero Castrillo, and Philippe Bourgois. 2014. “The Moral Economy of Violence in the US Inner City.” Current Anthropology 55 (1).

Kelling, George L., and James Q. Wilson. 1982. “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety.” The Atlantic, March 1982.

Kohler-Hausmann, Issa. 2018. Misdemeanorland: Criminal Courts and Social Control in an Age of Broken Windows Policing. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Laniyonu, Ayobami. 2018. “Coffee Shops and Street Stops: Policing Practices in Gentrifying Neighborhoods.” Urban Affairs Review 54 (5): 898–930.

Maharawal, Manissa M. 2017. “Black Lives Matter, Gentrification, and the Security State in the San Francisco Bay Area.” Anthropological Theory 17 (3): 338–64.

Marx, Karl. 1976. Capital: Volume I. London; New York, NY: Penguin Classics.

Massaro, Vanessa. 2019. “Who Is the Expert? Incorporating Undergraduate Researchers Into Collaborative Knowledge Production,” SAGE researchmethods, , October. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781526484932.

———. 2020. “Relocating the ‘Inmate’: Tracing the Geographies of Social Reproduction in Correctional Supervision.” Environment and Planning C: Politics and Space 38 (7–8): 1216–36.

Massaro, Vanessa, and Dana Cuomo. 2017. “Navigating Intimate Insider Status: Bridging Audiences through Writing and Presenting.” In Writing Intimacy into Feminist Geography, edited by Pamela Moss and Courtney Donovan, 1 edition, 59–70. Abingdon, Oxon ; New York, NY: Routledge.

McElroy, Erin, and Alex Werth. 2019. “Deracinated Dispossessions: On the Foreclosures of ‘Gentrification’ in Oakland, CA.” Antipode 51 (3): 878–98.

N.A. 1970. “Center Seeks To End Gangs.” Philadelphia Inquirer, June 30, 1970.

———. 2013. “Dirty Deeds: House-Stealing Scam Common in Philly.” WHYY (blog). January 11, 2013. https://whyy.org/articles/dirty-deeds-house-stealing-scam-common-in-philly/.

Nelson, Robert K., LaDale Winling, Richard Marciano, Nathan Connolly, Edward L. Ayers, and et al. 2017. “Mapping Inequality.” N.d. American Panorama. October 9, 2017. http://dsl.richmond.edu/panorama/redlining/.

O’Malley, Pat. 2009. The Currency of Justice Fines and Damages in Consumer Societies. Abingdon, UK; New York: Routledge-Cavendish.

Otterbein, Holly. 2017. “Meet the D.A. Candidate Who Led Philly’s Civil Asset Forfeiture System.” Philadelphia Magazine (blog). March 10, 2017. http://www.phillymag.com/news/2017/03/10/beth-grossman-district-attorney-race/.

Ramirez, Margaret M. 2019. “City as Borderland: Gentrification and the Policing of Black and Latinx Geographies in Oakland.” EDP: Society and Space 0 (0): 1–20.

Reilly, Robert. 1971. “More Aid for Needy Asked in Rally by 60 Welfare Workers.” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 6, 1971.

Shabazz, Rashad. 2015. Spatializing Blackness: Architectures of Confinement and Black Masculinity in Chicago. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Sharp, Elaine B. 2014. “Politics, Economics, and Urban Policing: The Postindustrial City Thesis and Rival Explanations for Heightened Order Maintenance Policing.” Urban Affairs Review 50 (3): 340–65.

Singh, Nikhil. 2016. “On Race, Violence and ‘So-Called Primitive Accumulation.’” Social Text 34 (3): 27–50.

Smith, Jackson. 2016. “Dirty Money: Mapping the Institutional Landscape of Monetized Criminal Justice Practices in Philadelphia.” In 24th Annual Critical Geography Conference. Pennsylvania State University, State College, Pennsylvania.

———. 2021. “Dirty Money and Disorderly Homes: Civil Forfeiture, Vice Police, and Illicit Capital in Philadelphia.” Dissertation, New York, NY: New York University.

Smith, Neil. 1996. The New Urban Frontier: Gentrification and the Revanchist City. London and New York: Routledge.

———. 2006. “Gentrification Generalized: From Local Anomaly to Urban ‘Regeneration’as Global Urban Strategy.” Frontiers of Capital: Ethnographic Reflections on the New Economy, 191–208.

Smith, Sandy. 2018. “How This Philadelphia Neighborhood Is Gentrifying Without Displacement.” Next City, July 9, 2018. https://nextcity.org/features/view/how-this-philadelphia-neighborhood-is-gentrifying-without-displacement.

Sugrue, Thomas J. 2014. The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Taylor, Keeanga-Yamahtta. 2019. Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Homeownership. Chapel Hill, NC: The University of North Carolina Press.

Vitale, Alex S. 2008. City of Disorder: How the Quality of Life Campaign Transformed New York Politics. New York, N.Y: NYU Press.

Vo, Lam Thuy. 2018. “They Played Dominoes Outsider Their Apartment for Decades. Then the White People Moved in and Police Started Showing Up.” BuzzFeed News, June 29, 2018. https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/lamvo/gentrification-complaints-311-new-york.

Walker, Fay. 2019. “Housing & Landlords: Using Open Data to Find Substandard Conditions.” Azavea (blog). September 26, 2019. https://www.azavea.com/blog/2019/09/26/housing-landlords-using-open-data-to-find-substandard-conditions/?fbclid=IwAR2hAwiVsFjYJfeRJXWu4k1G5QquDGjUeHpUVU99FeaXaCWwg
S8zGAFKyxk.

Whalen, Carmen Teresa. 2001. From Puerto Rico to Philadelphia: Puerto Rican Workers and Postwar Economies. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press.

Wilkes, Rima, and John Iceland. 2004. “Hypersegregation in the Twenty-First Century.” Demography 41 (1): 23–36.

Williams, Seth. 2015. “City Must Keep Forfeiture Laws.” Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 2015.

Zucchino, David. 1992. “How an Illicit World Flourishes Just Three Miles From City Hall.” Philadelphia Inquirer, April 5, 1992.
Published
2021-11-17
How to Cite
Smith, J., Massaro, V., & Miller, G. (2021). Policing Gentrification. ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 20(6), 637-665. Retrieved from https://www.acme-journal.org/index.php/acme/article/view/1957
Section
SI - Carceral Geographies and Policing (eds. Boyce, Massaro & Christian)