U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Collective Efficacy and Criminal Behavior in Chicago, 1995-2004

NCJ Number
Date Published
June 2011
147 pages
This study reproduces and extends the analyses about the neighborhood-level effects of collective efficacy on criminal behavior originally reported by Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls in a 1997 Science article entitled Neighborhood and Violent Crime: A Multilevel Study of Collective Efficacy.
Based on a 1995 citywide community survey of 8,782 residents in 343 neighborhood clusters conducted as part of the NIJ-sponsored Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods, it was reported that collective efficacy directly affects perceived neighborhood violence, household victimization, and official homicide rates (Sampson, Raudenbush, and Earls, 1997). Also reported was that collective efficacy moderates the relationship of residential stability and disadvantage with each measure of violence. This study uses Earls, Brooks-Gunn, Raudenbush, and Sampson's (Earls et al., 1997) archived community survey database, archived U.S. Census summary data (United States Department of Commerce, 1993) and Block and Block's (2005) archived Homicides in Chicago, 1965-1995 study to assess the extent to which Sampson, et al.'s (1997) reported results can be reproduced by using measures and statistical methods specified by Sampson, et al. (1997) and Morenoff, et al. (2001). The authors then extend the analyses conducted by Sampson, et al. (1997) by adding ten additional years of more detailed crime data in statistical models that address temporal and spatial correlation and multicollinearity. Findings reproduce the direction and statistical significance of all the key theoretical results reported by Sampson, et al. (1997). In addition, an extension of their analyses finds a direct connection between collective efficacy and rates of homicide and rape from 1995 through 2004. However, the authors did not find that collective efficacy is negatively related to officially recorded measures of robbery and assaults in 1995, nor is collective efficacy related to most property crimes during any period covered by the study. These latter findings suggest some of the limits to the influence of collective efficacy on crime. Future research should seek to determine the extent to which these limits are valid or due to issues of measurement or to methodological considerations

Date Published: June 1, 2011