Bridging Structure and Perception: On the Social Ecology of Beliefs and Worries About Neighbourhood Violence in London

22 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2013 Last revised: 14 Jan 2014

See all articles by Ian Brunton-Smith

Ian Brunton-Smith

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology

Alex Sutherland

University of Cambridge - Institute of Criminology; RAND Europe

Date Written: January 2014

Abstract

Applying in a new setting Robert Sampson’s (2012) work on interdependent spatial patterns, we link structural characteristics of the neighbourhood to public beliefs and worries about neighbourhood violence via two intermediate mechanisms: collective efficacy and neighbourhood disorder. Analysing data from face-to-face interviews of 61,436 individuals living in 4,761 London neighbourhoods, we find that the strength of informal social control and low-level breaches of common standards of behaviour communicates information about the prevalence and threat of violent crime in one’s neighbourhood. Moreover, collective efficacy and disorder partially mediate some of the statistical effects of structural characteristics of the neighbourhood – such as concentrated disadvantage – on beliefs and worries about violent crime. Theoretical implications of the findings are discussed.

Keywords: violence, fear of crime, collective efficacy, neighbourhood effects, disorder, concentrated disadvantage

JEL Classification: K40

Suggested Citation

Brunton-Smith, Ian and Jackson, Jonathan and Sutherland, Alex, Bridging Structure and Perception: On the Social Ecology of Beliefs and Worries About Neighbourhood Violence in London (January 2014). University of Cambridge Faculty of Law Research Paper No. 4/2014, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2352824 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2352824

Ian Brunton-Smith (Contact Author)

University of Surrey - Department of Sociology ( email )

United States

Jonathan Jackson

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Methodology ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+0044-207-955-7652 (Phone)

Alex Sutherland

University of Cambridge - Institute of Criminology ( email )

Sidgwick Site
Cambridge, CB3 9DA
United Kingdom
+44 1223 746519 (Phone)

RAND Europe ( email )

Cambridge
United Kingdom

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