Patrick Sharkey, a sociologist at New York University, has a new book out called Uneasy Peace: The Great Crime Decline, the Renewal of City Life, and the Next War on Violence.
His recent op-ed in The New York Times is a good read. Entitled "Two Lessons of the Urban Crime Decline," he mentions benefits that have accompanied the decline in violence. Three examples:
1. Lives saved because of a lower homicide rate (and a increase in life expectancy for black men).
2. Safer public schools resulting in a better learning environment and improvements in academic achievement.
3. A reduction in concentrated poverty ("The drop in violent crime has led better-off families to move into poorer city neighborhoods").
He touches on some of the same points in an interview with NPR. And, at the end of the interview, he describes a major change in the experience of urban poverty this way: "So across the country, for several decades, living in poverty used to mean living with the constant threat of violence. That hasn't gone away. There are certain cities that are still intensively violent, but it's no longer true in most of the country."