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Neighborhoods and Crime: Collective Efficacy and Social Cohesion in Miami-Dade County

NCJ Number
245406
Date Published
Author(s)
Craig Uchida, Marc Swatt, Shellie Solomon, Sean Varano
Annotation
This study examined five central issues that have not been addressed in current research on the link between neighborhood crime and collective efficacy, which is defined as the collective ability of residents to produce social action to meet common goals and preserve shared values.
Abstract
The issues examined were the psychometric properties of the most popular measure of perceptions of collective efficacy; the relationships between perceptions of collective efficacy and related constructs; whether these relationships vary between neighborhoods; the identification of variables that predict perceptions of collective efficacy and related constructs; and whether there is local variability in collective efficacy, “social cohesion,” and related constructs within neighborhoods. Researchers conclude that four findings are the most notable for policy. First, collective efficacy (willingness to intervene) and social cohesion (sense of “working trust” in the neighborhood) are separate but related concepts. Second, the relationships between perceptions of the concepts were neighborhood dependent; e.g., perceptions of collective efficacy were independently predictive of perceptions of incivilities in two study neighborhoods and not the other. Third, different social activities in neighborhoods were associated with perceptions of collective efficacy and social cohesion in different ways. Fourth, the relationships between neighborhood factors and both collective efficacy and social cohesion varied within neighborhoods. There were distinctive environments within larger neighborhoods that should be viewed as areas needing focused policy interventions. Based on these findings, this report encourages communities to implement community beautification strategies, public mobilization campaigns, and the use of zoning and licensing to restrict certain behaviors. The study focused on eight neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County that reflected the range of different characteristics of neighborhoods in the county. 24 tables and extensive references
Date Created: March 30, 2014