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Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods - Interview at the National Institute of Justice

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2005
5 pages
This audio and its transcript cover an interview with Dr. Akiva Liberman at the National Institute of Justice (NIJ), which features his response to questions that pertain to "collective efficacy" in Chicago neighborhoods and its link to race, violence, and exposure to guns.
Liberman defines "collective efficacy" as "a shared sense of values and trust of your neighbors and shared expectations about intervention in deviant behavior." Collective efficacy is often a factor in what distinguishes neighborhoods with high crime rates from those neighborhoods with lower crime rates. Even though neighborhoods may share similar characteristics of poverty and disadvantage, the existence of collective efficacy can significantly counter behavioral problems and model collective expectations for proper and acceptable behavior. In the second part of the interview, Liberman discusses the factors of race, violence, and exposure to guns in Chicago neighborhoods. The Chicago study found that the presence of a high percentage of first-generation immigrants in a neighborhood, along with the presence of professionals living in the neighborhood are both protective factors. Neighborhood residents being cynical about the law and law enforcement was related to violence by adolescents. Also, exposure to violence was found to be a risk factor for responsive violence and the use of violence to obtain objectives. Exposure to guns as an instrument of violence promoted the expectation that guns are necessary to both counter violence and achieve the objectives of violence.

Date Published: May 1, 2005