This study measured how local, community-based institutions and organizations are linked to social control and crime, in order to inform community development policy, research, and practices for crime control and public safety.
The study’s goal was to measure how local, community-based institutions and organizations are linked to social control and crime, in order to inform community development policy, research, and practices for crime control and public safety. Of studies testing measures of social capital, positive or pro-social features of communities, few empirical studies have focused on how organizations and institutions can be vehicles for increasing socialization and achieving positive neighborhood outcomes or on the social institutional processes of neighborhoods. It is hypothesized that community institutional capacity and collective efficacy are related concepts. Three components of community institutional capacity were developed: 1) presence, 2) organizational capacity, and 3) accessibility; and four key measures of crime were focused on using incident/call data from the District of Columbia: 1) aggravated assault rate, 2) property crime rate, 3) social disorder, and 4) physical disorder. Findings showed that: 1) neighborhoods with institutions and organizations further away are significantly more likely to have higher assault rates; 2) neighborhood organizational accessibility is not significantly related to rates of social or physical disorder or property crime; 3) accessibility has a significant negative relationship with collective efficacy and a significant relationship with social cohesion; 4) neighborhood organizational capacity was significantly correlated with the aggravated assault rate when controlling for prior assault rate, residential stability, and concentrated disadvantage; and 5) accessibility was significantly and positively correlated with the aggravated assault rate. Additionally, regression analyses show that when controlling for neighborhood structural constraints: 1) the accessibly of organizations predicts social cohesion, but not collective efficacy or informal social control, 2) only organizational accessibility is significantly associated with crime, and 3) neighborhood organizational accessibility is significantly and negatively associated with the aggravated assault rate.
Date Published: May 1, 2009
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