How collective is collective efficacy? The importance of consensus in judgements about community cohesion and willingness to intervene

Ian Brunton-Smith*, Patrick Sturgis, George Leckie

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)

11 Citations (Scopus)
195 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Existing studies have generally measured collective efficacy by combining survey respondents’ ratings of their local area into an overall summary for each neighborhood. Naturally, this approach results in a substantive focus on the variation in average levels of collective efficacy between neighborhoods. In this article, we focus on the variation in consensus of collective efficacy judgments. To account for differential consensus among neighborhoods, we use a mixed-effects location-scale model, with variability in the consensus of judgments treated as an additional neighborhood-level random effect. Our results show that neighborhoods in London differ, not just in their average levels of collective efficacy but also in the extent to which residents agree with one another in their assessments. In accord with findings for U.S. cities, our results show that consensus in collective efficacy assessments is affected by the ethnic composition of neighborhoods. Additionally, we show that heterogeneity in collective efficacy assessments is consequential, with higher levels of criminal victimization, worry about crime, and risk avoidance behavior in areas where collective efficacy consensus is low.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)608-637
Number of pages30
JournalCriminology
Volume56
Issue number3
Early online date18 May 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2018

Keywords

  • collective efficacy
  • consensus effects
  • location-scale model
  • mixed-effects
  • multilevel model
  • neighborhood effects

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