[Crim] Collective Efficacy and Crime

**Another set of notes for my criminology class.**

Social Disorganization and the Urban ecology of Crime and Delinquency 

  • First developed at UChicago in the 1920s and 30s 
    • Plotted out the residential location of youths who had been referred to juvenile court in diff areas in Chicago 
    • Grounded in a theory of urban ecology 
  • Important people
    • Park and Burgess 
      • Urban ecology → viewed city as analogous of natural ecological communities of plants and animals 
        • Invading species gains dominance → humans are subject to this – commercial enterprises compete in space in residential areas … residents are pushed to outer edges of community boundaries
  • Concentric zones: Zones I-V
  • Cities do not expand only at their outermost edges – various areas inside the city expand radially, creating pressure on surrounding areas to expand outwards as well 
  • Concentric rings – each was delineated by a diff function / pattern of activities 
  • As the city grows, each ring invades the surrounding one, setting of the pattern of invasion, domination, & succession
  • 5 diff rings/zones
    • Zone 1:  innermost zone, the bullseye was identified as the central business district   
      • Skyscrapers, office buildings, hotels, city govt, heavy industry on outer boundary of zone 1 
    • Zone 2: zone in transition 
      • Run down housing, immigrants, poor, deteriorating neighborhoods 
    • Zone 3: zone of working men’s homes 
      • Skilled workers located in transition zone live 
      • Have escaped slums of zone 2
    • Zone 4 & 5: residential and commuter zones
      • White collar employees who work in zone 1 live here 
  • Shaw and McKay
    • Students of park and burgess
    • Zone map of delinquents in chicago: 1925-1933
    • Over three periods of time  
    • In addition to the place of residence of the delinquent, also collected data such as rates of infant mortality, population incr and decr, economic indicators, racial and ethnic compositions, and the percent foreign born
    • Found that the distribution of delinquents fit a systematic pattern → rates of delinquents were highest in the inner city and decreased outwards as it became more affluent 
    • Inner city neighborhoods maintained high level of delinquents over decades even though the racial and ethnic composition in these areas changed 
    • Same pattern of declining rates of delinquents was found within each racial and ethnic group 
    • Delinquents, no matter how they were defined or what period they analyzed, were concentrated in or near an area of the city zoned for industry or commerce, designated as a zone in transition 
      • Zones in transition were characterized by physical decay, industrial encroachment, poor housing, incomplete and broken families, high rates of illegitimate births, infant death, and an unstable heterogeneous population → residents were at bottom end of economic scale with low education 
      • Also ^ had high rates of adult crime, alcohol or drug abuse, prostitution, mental illness, etc. 
      • Suggested that a common factor characterizing these neighborhoods were responsible for delinquency
        • Racial and ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility, poverty → interpreted collectively as social disorganization 
          • As these increase, so do crime rates  

Sampson and collective efficacy 

  • Something that sits between concentrated disadvantages (disorganized neighborhoods) and crime rates 
  • Mechanistic way of thinking – mechanistic casual theory 
  • Structural antecedents influence mystery variable which mediates and helps explain variation in neighborhood crime rates 
    • Mechanism or mediating variable that explains the relationship between concentrated disadvantage and crime rates 
    • Tripartite approach 
  • Argue that crime rates are a function of a neighborhood’s ability to realize common values and maintain social control → collective efficacy! 
  • Collective efficacy: 
    • 1. Social cohesion 
    • 2. Informal social control – willingness to intervene when confronted with deviance or general social disruption 
    • High collective efficacy then means that people trust and support one another and have an inclination in intervening when confronted with disruption in the community  
  • Collective efficacy refers to the linkage between, on the one hand, the degree of social cohesion in a neighborhood and the resultant trust and solidarity among residents, and on the other hand, residents willingness to engage in informal social control and intervention to maintain order 
    • Shared power of a group to influence maintenance of public order 
    • Neighbors can be weak ties who have a shared and mutual understanding and trust so if something goes wrong they will be there to clean it up 
      • Strong intimate bonds are NOT necessary for collective efficacy to flourish 
  • Propositions
    • First, all else constant, as concentrated disadvantage increases, collective efficacy decreases 
    • Second, as collective efficacy decreases, crime rates will increase
    • In another way, there is an inverse/neg relationship between concentrated disadvantage and collective efficacy 
    • Inverse or neg relationship between collective efficacy and crime rates 
    • When collective efficacy is low, then disorder/crime/violence will increase  
    • Neighborhood crime is a result of a lack of neighborhood control 
  • Testing the theory 
    • The project on human development in Chicago neighborhoods (PHDCN)
    • Data gathered by surveys and interviews – allowed them to get info on individuals in the neighborhoods 
    • Trying to show how characteristics of neighborhood independent of the individuals in them explain variation in crime rates 
      • Vital that the info on individuals are collected and controlled for (“all else is constant” → all factors that may influence crime are taken into consideration)  
    • 8,782 residents in 343 Chicago neighborhood clusters 
    • Collective efficacy = informal social control + social cohesion 
      • Informal social control → the questions were about 1) children skipping school and hanging out on a street corner 2) children spray painting graffiti 3) children showing disrespect to an adult 4) a fight broke out in front of their house and 5) the fire station closest to their house was threatened with budget cuts 
      • Social cohesion → respondents were asked about how strongly they agreed (on a five point scale) that “people around here are willing to help their neighbors” “this is a close knit neighborhood” “people in this neighborhood generally don’t get along with each other” and “people in this neighborhood do not share the same values” 
    • Results: found that concentrated disadvantage and residential stability explains 70% of the variance in collective efficacy which in turn explains a large degree of neighborhood violence 
      • Theory seems to be correct! Gets a lot of support from this test. 
      • As poverty and residential instability went up, collective efficacy went down and as c.e. Went down, crime rates went up 
    • Motivational theory! 
    • Concentrated disadvantage is a social force. Collective efficacy was measured with questions about perception – psychological thoughts in the brain. – social forces influence social perceptions which influence crime rates 
  • Lack of generality!! → only shown to be true in 1995 chicago 
    • Admit that it was limited 😛 
    • Subsequent work does expand the generality, though 
  • Generality 
    • “our analysis was limited also to one city and did not go beyond its official boundaries into a wider region” 
    • Collective efficacy and crime over time: 
      • Sampson shows that the neighborhoods that saw falling poverty and rising collective efficacy between 1996 and 06 saw the sharpest decrease in homicide – the homicide rate fell from 6.2 per 100,000 in 1996 to 1.3 per 100,000 in 2006. Those in the opposite condition – rising poverty and falling collective efficacy- still saw falling hom rates. But the decline was much flatter – the hom rate falling from 6.3 per 100k to 5.2 per 100k over a decade
    • Collective efficacy and crime across place 
      • In 2004, sampson and wikstrom shows that rates of violence are significantly predicted by low collective efficacy in both chicago and stockholm, sweden. 
      • C.e. works as an explanatory concept cross nationally in diff cities with vastly diff makeups and history – this shows that c.e. Is a power GENERAL theoretical concept that can describe variation in crime rates across groups 

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