Public Housing Residents' Satisfaction With Police Performance and How it is Related to Perceived Collective Efficacy

E. Andreas Tomaszewski, Eastern Michigan University

Much research has shown that residents of poor urban neighborhoods tend to view police performance rather negatively. Often, they experience gargeting by police on racist and classist grounds and feel their needs are ignored for the same reasons. Recently, numerous studies have shown that residents' high perceptions of collective efficacy are associated with lower victimization rates. Collective efficacy is defined as the willingness of residents to intervene on behalf of the common good and is a composite measure of informal social control and social cohesion and trust among neighbors. At the same time, low victimization or crime rates have been associated with residents reporting satisfaction with police performance.

What, however, is the relationship between residents' satisfaction with police performance and how they perceive collective efficacy in their nieghborhood? Examining this relationship is important as community policing efforts can only succeed when residents are not only concerned about crime but also take an active role in preventing it. This study will answer the qbove question by using data from the Quality of Neighborhood Survey, which was conducted in several public housing neighborhoods in an urban center in eastern Ontario, Canada.

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Updated 05/20/2006