Neighborhood Residents' Production of Order: The Effects of Collective Efficacy on Responses to Neighborhood Problems

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In: Crime & Delinquency, Vol. 52, No. 4, 2006.


Community policing agencies seek to engage communities to build working partnerships, solicit the input of neighborhood residents, and stimulate informal control of crime. A common barrier to these efforts is a lack of citizen participation. The purpose of this article is to assess the relationship between neighborhood-level variables and citizen response to neighborhood problems. The authors’ predictions are guided by recent research on collective efficacy and the relationship between neighborhood conditions and citizen actions. Accordingly, the authors expect neighborhood variables will affect residents’ responses to perceived problems. Results show that residential-unit variables do not have significant effects on the likelihood that residents respond to neighborhood problems they identified. Methodological limitations must be overcome before it can be concluded that collective efficacy is not predictive of citizen responses to neighborhood problems, but research must consider this important outcome variable.