Over the past twenty-five years, American cities have transformed. Violence became less common in almost every city across the country, and it plummeted in many of our major urban centers. Sociologist Patrick Sharkey spent five years gathering national data to understand why it happened, and how it has changed the nature of urban inequality.

Uneasy Peace shows, with rigorous evidence, that the crime decline has fundamentally changed the nature of urban poverty, but the approaches we have taken to confront violence have come with great costs. At a time when crime is beginning to rise again, and the old methods of policing are no longer acceptable, the ideas in this book are indispensable.

“This book profoundly changed how I think about crime, violence, and justice in America.” 

   - Matthew Desmond, author of Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City

“Patrick Sharkey, the leading young scholar of urban crime and concentrated poverty, brilliantly dissects the causes of the great urban crime decline that has brought our great cities back to life, and outlines what it will take to ensure that our cities remain safe, secure, better, and more equitable places for all.” 

   - Richard Florida, author of The New Urban Crisis

“Patrick Sharkey’s achievement in Uneasy Peace is to explain with accessible precision just how much the massive decline in homicide since the 1990s has mattered to the most vulnerable of city-dwellers, African American men. ” 

   - Tracey L. Meares, Walton Hale Hamilton Professor at Yale Law School

“This well-written and carefully researched book is a must-read for anyone residing in our nation’s cities.”

   - William Julius Wilson, author of More than Just Race: Being Black and Poor in the Inner City


Patrick Sharkey is Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public & International Affairs. He received his Ph.D. in Sociology and Social Policy from Harvard. Sharkey was formerly Chair of Sociology at New York University, served as Scientific Director at Crime Lab, New York, and is the founder of AmericanViolence.org