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Structural neighbourhood characteristics, perceived collective efficacy and perceived disorder: a multilevel study on fear of crime

Strukturelle Nachbarschaftsmerkmale, wahrgenommene kollektive Wirksamkeit und wahrgenommene Unordnung: eine Mehrebenenstudie zur Kriminalitätsfurcht
Wim Hardyns ORCID logo, Lieven J. R. Pauwels ORCID logo and Robin Khalfa ORCID logo


This study examines whether residential stability and neighbourhood SES, two key neighbourhood structural characteristics from Social Disorganisation Theory (SDT), have a contextual effect on perceived social trust, perceived informal social control, and perceived social disorder and whether these contextual structural and perceptual measures are related to three measures of fear of crime, independent of population composition. Attention is paid to three well-known dimensions of fear of crime: risk perception (cognitive), fear (emotional) and avoidance behaviour (behavioural). The results demonstrate that neighbourhood residential stability is strongly related to perceptual measures of collective efficacy (perceived social trust and perceived informal social control) and perceived social disorder, controlling for demographic background characteristics and individual level social capital. The implications of these findings and avenues for future studies are discussed.


In dieser Studie wird zunächst untersucht, ob die residentielle Stabilität und strukturelle Benachteiligung (SES), zwei zentrale strukturelle Merkmale von Wohnquartieren, die im Mittelpunkt der Theorie der sozialen Desorganisation (SDT) stehen, einen kontextuellen Effekt auf das wahrgenommene soziale Vertrauen, die wahrgenommene informelle soziale Kontrolle und die wahrgenommene soziale Unordnung haben. Zweitens wird untersucht, ob diese genannten Merkmale der Stadtviertel und wahrgenommene kollektive Wirksamkeit mit drei Operationalisierungen der Kriminalitätsfurcht zusammenhängen, wenn individuelle Merkmale als Kontrollvariablen verwendet werden. Dabei werden drei bekannte Dimensionen der Kriminalitätsfurcht berücksichtigt: die Wahrnehmung des Viktimisierungsrisikos (kognitive Dimension), Kriminalitätsfurcht (emotionale Dimension) und Vermeidungsverhalten (verhaltensbezogene Dimension). Die Ergebnisse zeigen, dass die Stabilität des Wohnviertels und soziales Kapital das wahrgenommene soziale Vertrauen, die wahrgenommene informelle soziale Kontrolle und die wahrgenommene soziale Unordnung prädizieren. Diese Variablen prädizieren auch das Viktimisierungsrisiko, die Kriminalitätsfurcht und das Vermeidungsverhalten. Die Implikationen dieser Ergebnisse und Möglichkeiten für zukünftige Studien werden diskutiert.


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Appendix 1: Survey descriptives (non-standardised)

Minimum Maximum Mean Standard deviation
Neighbourghood residential stability 0.24 0.69 0.05 0.12
Neighbourhood SES (level of education) 0.46 0.73 0.62 0.07
Sex 0.00 1.00 0.49 0.50
Age 17.00 101.00 46.41 18.76
Individual residential stability 0.00 1.00 0.49 0.50
Individual SES (level of education) 0.00 1.00 0.62 0.49
Home ownership 0.00 1.00 0.67 0.47
Single-headed household 0.00 1.00 0.28 0.45
Perceived social capital 4.00 28.00 22.52 5.68
Perceived informal social control 5.00 35.00 22.77 6.52
Perceived social trust 7.00 49.00 24.31 10.06
Perceived disorder -12.67 47.35 0.00 13.06
Published Online: 2022-08-05

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