Collective Efficacy Theory and Perceptions of Crime: Documenting Neighborhood Context Effects

Collective Efficacy Theory and Perceptions of Crime: Documenting Neighborhood Context Effects

Collective Efficacy Theory and Perceptions of Crime: Documenting Neighborhood Context Effects

Collective Efficacy Theory and Perceptions of Crime: Documenting Neighborhood Context Effects

Synopsis

Battin tests collective efficacy theory by accounting for additional measures of informal social control and social ties. Past social disorganization theory and collective efficacy theory research utilized community members to measure community levels of informal social control and social ties. Battin's work deviates from the previous methodology and incorporates real estate agents as resident proxies to test collective efficacy theory and its relationship with perceptions of crime. The data provide support for collective efficacy theory and the use of resident proxies.

Excerpt

Community-level variables such as residential stability, poverty, and racial heterogeneity have been linked to areas of increased crime and delinquency. One theoretical paradigm, social disorganization, attempts to explain crime and delinquency through these community contextual factors. Beginning in the 1930s, the proponents of social disorganization research did not specifically specify how these community factors lead to increased crime and delinquency; that is, the simple correlation between the contextual factors and crime was established as a common pattern of occurrence across geographic areas. It was not until relatively recently that the first systematic test of social disorganization theory was accomplished (see Sampson & Groves, 1989). Since the renewal of social disorganization studies, there have been many attempts to improve this model and understand its limits. The research presented in this research monograph focuses on one particular modification commonly termed collective efficacy. Collective efficacy theory is an improved model due to variable conceptualizations and model specification that are more precise.

In the past, social disorganization research was criticized because of incomplete tests and unexplained inferences. Social disorganization studies typically did not include a full testable model, as it was originally conceived, for a period of roughly fifty years following its inception. More specifically, community contextual factors have been . . .

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