Urban enclaves, as defined by Mark Abrahamson in his book Urban Enclaves: Identity and Place in America contain three important characteristics. The residents share distinctive status important to their identity. The enclave contains specialized stores and institutions that provide local support for its member's lifestyles.The aforementioned features have an impact on actions of those considered to be 'outsiders'. Law enforcement in any community is generally viewed negatively by those who are not part of the criminal justice system. Therefore, law enforcement officials must demonstrate an increased awareness of urban enclaves and its members. This paper will highlight Boston's Beacon Hill along with other elite enclaves and appropriate ways in which law enforcement officials should interact among its residents.The members of the elite enclaves maintain distinctive status. Status can be loosely translated as ones style of life. They also define themselves in terms of class. Class can be defined generally as the comparison of life chances and position in the marketplace (Abrahamson 20).Through status and class, the elite enclaves that are made up of the wealthy enjoy many advantages. Through the power of wealth, the elite enclaves have the ability to influence decisions regarding their neighborhoods. "Their wealth, contacts, and prestige, and their ability to appeal to preservationist values furnished the elite with the power to institutionally structure arrangements rather than power over any specific group" (Abrahamson 29).
The power to structure arrangements was exemplified in the early days of the forming of elite neighborhoods. In Beacon Hill, the elite members fought to maintain the Boston Commons, a park across from Beacon Street and other small parks for elite use only. They viewed the working class as "dirty and unkempt people who had messy picnics in the parks" (Abrahamson 25). They felt that these parks would contribute to their genteel lifestyle. Although the working class fought to change the control of the parks, the government most often consisted of members of the elite. Matters were most often resolved in favor of the upper-class. The elite enclaves strived to differentiate themselves from the working class.
The concepts of 'New' money and 'Old' money were ways in which the elite differentiated themselves. 'Old' money is money that has been passed down from generation to generation and their lineage is impressed upon others. 'New' money is money gained from pursuits such as mining, railroads, and oil, focusing less, if at all, on lineage. It was often frowned upon for those of 'new' money and 'old' money to intermix and marry. They maintained different lifestyles and lived in different neighborhoods.
Lifestyle and geographic location became important within the elite enclaves. As these enclaves were forming, the higher upon a hill the neighborhoods rested, the higher the status and class of its members. Property values were high due to the financial wealth in these areas. Families from these neighborhoods eventually moved to other more contemporary neighborhoods, like Nob Hill. In later years, elite families matriculated back to their old neighborhoods and fought for parcels of land to ensure that the enclave could continue in its most original form and preserve itself within the social structure.
Since governmental officials were members of the upper-class, the elite held sway among all decisions within the local government. Being local law enforcement within the current elite enclaves could be difficult, depending upon officer attitudes and preconceptions of the members within these neighborhoods. It would seem logical that the wealthy within these enclaves would not commit overt crimes against one another. Any crimes such as theft and gun related incidents would be presumably low in these neighborh