In disadvantaged neighborhoods, prior research has found reduced social cohesion and less willingness among residents to address disruptive behaviors and violations of social norms. This deficiency is commonly associated with higher levels of disorder and crime. Therefore, recent scholarship has begun to consider whether police can help foster collective efficacy, especially in places struggling with serious crime problems. Early results are somewhat mixed. Yet the cooperation hypothesis asserts that when neighborhood residents see police as a more viable and reliable resource, residents will be emboldened to exert informal social control to address problems. Over the last two decades, hot spots policing has been recognized as an effective method to reduce crime. At the same time, there have been few rigorous studies of whether this approach impacts collective efficacy at hot spots. To investigate this question, we conducted an experiment in 71 crime hot spots, comparing a collaborative problem solving versus a directed patrol (police presence) approach versus standard policing practices. Over time, a substantial increase in police presence did appear to promote modest improvements in collective efficacy. We attribute this finding to the cooperation hypothesis.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This project was supported by the National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice [grant number 2011-IJ-CX-0007]. The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication/program/ exhibition are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect those of the Department of Justice.
© 2018, © 2018 Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences.
- collective efficacy
- cooperation hypothesis
- directed patrol
- hot spots
- problem solving