Please enjoy the following article from the Journal of Urban Affairs, available online.
Individual-level intervention: How perceptions of neighborhood matter for social organization; by Erin R. Coleman
One of the most robust areas of research in the communities and crime literature investigates the relationship between neighborhood social control and levels of neighborhood crime. While macro-level research provides much insight into the necessary conditions for neighborhoods to exert social control, and as a result experience less crime, far less attention is paid to the determinants of individual-level decisions to intervene in neighborhoods. This study takes a micro-level approach to studying neighborhood social organization by investigating how individual-level perceptions shape resident behaviors within neighborhoods. This paper argues that more attention should be placed on what motivates people to intervene in their neighborhoods, thus contributing to collective efficacy through individual actions. Using survey data from the Study of Race, Crime, and Social Policy in Oakland, California (Street, 2000), analyses show that residents within the same neighborhoods vary in how they perceive objective neighborhood characteristics, and that this variation partly accounts for the likelihood of intervention. Specifically, results from a series of logistic regressions show that perceptions of neighborhood disorder and perceptions of the legal system influenced whether neighborhood residents intervened when presented with problems in their communities.