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JSPES, Vol. 37, No. 2 (Summer 2012)
pp. 222-248

Father Presence in a Community and Levels of Violent Crime A Dynamic Beyond the Arm of the Law

Wade C. Mackey
H. Dean Buttram

Jacksonville State University

The perception of the influence of the American father-figure upon his developing children has undergone several revisions since the middle of the 20th century. Academic literature and government policies have tended to minimize or marginalize his influence – qua father – as either supernumerary or irrelevant. This article suggests that the father-presence correlates strongly with lessened violence in a community whereas the absence of a father is also strongly correlated with elevated levels of violent crime within that community. The predictability is found both concurrently and with a generation lag. Although correlation does not equate to causation, and other factors affecting the respective types of families may play all or part of the causal role, the correlations are highly suggestive that paternal presence is at least a contributory factor.