This article, which consists of an examination of data gathered from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, is aimed at gaining a complete picture of the neighborhood in Chicago. It is based on the spatial definition of neighborhood as “a collection of people and institutions occupying a subsection of a larger community.” The data gathered and the analysis based on such data are used to test the hypothesis that collective efficacy has a connection with reduced violence in neighborhoods. Collective efficacy refers to the social cohesion among people belonging to a neighborhood that is influenced by the willingness to act to promote the common good.
The hypothesis was formulated based on the premise that crime rates vary in different neighborhoods, and such variation may be attributed to social and organizational characteristics extant in such social groupings. Moreover, it is assumed that there are factors at play other than those attributed to demographic characteristics of individuals. The article also makes use of two concepts of efficacy, namely, individual efficacy and neighborhood efficacy. It suggests that these two constructs are related in their similar means of activating processes such as social control, which encourage people to act in protection of the neighborhood’s well being.
The question sought to be answered by the article revolves around the factors that influence collective efficacy. Again, this question has an assumption, which is that collective efficacy does not exist in a vacuum and is affected by various factors such as political economy and various contexts.
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Using a five-item Likert-type scale, subjects of the study were asked various questions about the social interaction observed within the neighborhood, such as whether there is a general feeling of trust in favor of neighbors or whether there is a likelihood of intervention in certain circumstances. On the other hand, violence was measured through questions about the frequency of occurrence of violent behavior and personal experience of violent incidents. Moreover, the survey measures were juxtaposed with independent records of violent incidents.
After extensive analysis and presentation of data, the article concludes that collective efficacy may be measured at the neighborhood stage, mainly through the conduct of surveys. Moreover, neighborhood variation in collective efficacy is largely explained by three factors, namely, immigration concentration, concentrated disadvantage, and immigration concentration.
In sum, the article was able to find data to prove its hypothesis that factors other than demographic characteristics of the individual residents of a neighborhood affect collective efficacy. Nevertheless, the article is quick to note that the study has inherent weaknesses, and suggests that further studies be conducted to explore other possibilities.
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