Talking It Out: Neighborhood Factors Associated With Residents' Likelihood of Resolving Disputes Informally vs. Relying on Formal Authorities

Barbara D. Warner, Eastern Kentucky University

Underlying much of the current community crime models is an image in which communities are brought together to resolve issues rather than pulled apart by competing interests. While community building as crime control is currently very popular, there remains a lack of attention to the distinction between building communities to be the eyes and ears of a punitive criminal justice systemn vs, building communities to develop internal problem solving strategies. Punitive models of crinminal justidce are premised upon a consensus model in which norms and values are assumed to be agreed upon. Hence when norms are broken the police are called upon to maintain the social contract. A more community oriented model of justice would be premised upon an assensus model in which finding justice is a matter of social interaction between all relevant parties. In this paper I assess the extent to which community characteristics are related to the likelihood of residents working out their own disagreements vs. relying on more coercive responses of formal authorities. Data are based on surveys of residents in 66 neighborhoods. Studies such as this are impiortant in providing the basis

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Updated 05/20/2006