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Homeless violence and the informal rules of street life


Successful adaptation to street life requires that risk of violence, an often present aspect of this lifestyle, be reduced to as low a level as possible. This means knowing the informal rules which permit avoiding the pitfalls of street life. It is argued in this paper that safety and security are a function of interactions occurring within a specific place, with particular associates, and involving safe and unsafe behavior. Carelessness with respect to any of these factors can result in victimization. These issues are discussed using survey and ethnographic data collected in Chattanooga.

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Correspondence to Ralph Anderson.

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Anderson, R. Homeless violence and the informal rules of street life. J Soc Distress Homeless 5, 369–380 (1996).

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Key words

  • violence
  • homeless lifestyle
  • adaptation