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Article

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In: of Criminal Justice, Vol. 41, 2013

Abstract

Purpose: Extant literature indicates that individual perceptions of collective efficacy and incivilities are important in explaining fear of crime. These studies, however, often implicitly assume that the relationships between key variables do not differ between neighborhoods. The purpose of this research is to examine the relationship between perceptions of collective efficacy, perceptions of incivilities, and fear of crime and determine whether these relationships are constant between neighborhoods.

Methods: Surveys were conducted using a sample of residents from four neighborhoods within Miami-Dade County. Structural equation models were used to examine the relationships between perceptions of collective efficacy, perceptions of incivilities, and fear of crime for each neighborhood separately. Tests for invariance were conducted to determine whether the coefficients from these models differed across neighborhoods.

Results: Results from these analyses suggest that the relationship between perceptions of collective efficacy and fear of crime exhibit significant heterogeneity between neighborhoods, as do a number of other relationships. The relationships between perceptions of collective efficacy and perceptions of incivilities, and perceptions of incivilities and fear of crime do not exhibit heterogeneity.

Conclusions: These results illustrate the importance of examining perceptions of collective efficacy within the neighborhood context. Implications for policy and future research are discussed

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