Collective Efficacy
Authors & Project Staff
    Dr. Craig D. Uchida
    Shellie E. Solomon
    Riley Waugh
    Corina Putt
    Christine Connor
    Jonathan Mash
    Marc Swatt
    Sean Varano
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Reducing Crime through Collective Efficacy: Identifying Social Control and Social Cohesion in Miami Neighborhoods.

This project examines neighborhoods, crime, and collective efficacy in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

JSS selected eight neighborhoods for community surveys and systematic social observations.
Neighborhoods were defined as a contiguous set of primarily residential features consisting of approximately 2,000 to 4,000 residents, bounded by physical, social, or geographic features of the environment. We examined physical features (oceans and waterways), social features (primarily commercial/industrial areas), and geographic features (busy roads/highways).

Eight neighborhoods were selected for inclusion into the sample. Neighborhoods were selected to represent a diverse cross-section of Miami-Dade County in regard to racial/ethnic composition, socioeconomic status, level of crime, and spatial location across the county. Using ArcGIS as a platform, we incorporated data from:

• 2000 Census block group data projected to 2009 to assess racial/ethnic composition and median household income across the county

• Robbery and aggravated assault calls for service from the City of Miami Police Department, the Homestead Police Department, the Miami Gardens Police Department, and the Miami-Dade Police Department to assess the level of crime

• Some calls for service data from various incorporated areas (such as Miami Beach, Hialeah, Aventura, Florida City, etc.) were not available. This did not limit their involvement in the selection of the sample, however, availability of crime data was considered in the selection of neighborhoods.

• Various ArcGIS layers (satellite imagery, Census Block Group data) Google Maps, and Google Maps Street view to delineate tentative neighborhood boundaries

• Conducted “drive-throughs” of each of the tentative locations to better assess the land use of these areas, neighborhood boundaries, and possible barriers to access.

• From the initial list, we compiled a final list of neighborhoods to conduct community surveys and systematic social observations.

The household survey consists of 116 questions. The survey includes: questions on perceived incivilities, fear of crime, collective efficacy, availability and use of local community resources, perceptions of police services, and other community issues. Surveys were translated into Spanish and Creole.

The Systematic Social Observation instruments are based, in part, on those used in the Program on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Observers were trained to use the instruments as they walk through or view a video of street segments within specific areas of selected neighborhoods. Observers determined the levels of litter/trash on the street, the condition of businesses/residences, the condition of streets, the amount of foot and motor vehicle traffic, and other factors that influence collective efficacy.

We selected 20 to 25 street segments within each neighborhood for conducting systematic social observations. We separated the neighborhood into spatial quadrants and stratified our sample by quadrant to ensure that the segments would not be spatially concentrated in a single area within the neighborhood. From our initial list of residents selected for inclusion into the community survey sample (full list, not just those who responded), we randomly selected street segments for conducting the systematic social observations.

The project will produce crime maps, community survey results, and add to the research on collective efficacy and crime.