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Neighborhood Residents' Production of Order: The Effects of Collective Efficacy on Responses to Neighborhood Problems

NCJ Number
Crime & Delinquency Volume: 52 Issue: 4 Dated: October 2006 Pages: 523-550
Date Published
October 2006
28 pages

This study assessed the relationship between neighborhood-level variables and residents' response to neighborhood problems as an important aspect of community policing.


The study did not support the hypothesis that residential-unit variables were linked to residents' responses to perceived neighborhood problems. The implication of this finding for community policing and social service agencies is that they do have to change larger community characteristics and a neighborhood's poor history of collective action in order to elicit cooperation from citizens in solving local problems. They can deal directly with residents in educating them about what they can do to address neighborhood problems that affect their safety and quality of life. There is evidence that disadvantaged neighborhoods that have positive relations with public social control agents, including police and local government agencies, have lower victimization rates than neighborhoods with less disadvantage. This has positive implications for the value of community policing and cooperative endeavors by public service agencies in reaching out to empower local resident action to deal with significant problems. Data for this study were collected in 1997 as part of a larger project that surveyed residents of an urban, midwestern city. Households were randomly selected for telephone interviews from each of the city's 20 police beats. Several indicators on which data were collected pertained to the relationship between community context and crime. The data analysis focused on the 1,331 cases in which respondents identified a problem in their neighborhood. Completed survey data were obtained on 1,235 respondents. The dependent variable measured whether or not respondents had done anything in the past year to address the neighborhood problem they had identified. The independent variables were collective efficacy (neighborhood unity and collective action), residential unit control variables, and individual control variables. 5 tables, 3 figures, 12 notes, and 61 references

Date Published: October 1, 2006