Faculty Publications


Confirmatory factor analyses of collective efficacy and police satisfaction

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Journal of Crime and Justice





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Two important contributions to social disorganization theory are Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls’ (1997) addition of the collective efficacy concept and Silver and Miller's (2004) incorporation of police satisfaction as mechanisms that mediate the criminogenic effects of neighborhood structural characteristics on crime. We seek to contribute to systemic social disorganization theory by first assessing the dimensionality of these two important concepts with a confirmatory factor analysis, and then assessing how they are differentially impacted by neighborhood composition and structural conditions. We argue that the concept of collective efficacy conflates two distinct systemic elements-social cohesion and informal control-and that police satisfaction contains two distinct dimensions-formal control (maintaining order and preventing crime) and police-citizen relations (how well the police respond to problems that are important to people in the neighborhood, victims in the neighborhood, and local issues). Secondly, we argue that both social cohesion and informal control, and police-citizen relations and formal control, need to be assessed separately, using hierarchical linear modeling, in order to understand how they are differentially impacted by neighborhood composition and structural characteristics. Confirmatory factor analyses of data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (Earls, 1999) support our theoretical claims that both collective efficacy and police satisfaction contain two dimensions. Finally, results of hierarchical linear models show that neighborhood composition and structural characteristics have diverse effects on social cohesion, informal control, police relations, and formal control. These findings suggest that strengthening these mediating mechanisms will require different strategic approaches. © 2009, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminology

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