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Neighborhood Churches and Their Relationship to Neighborhood Processes Important for Crime Prevention

NCJ Number
Journal of Urban Affairs Volume: 41 Issue: 8 Dated: 2019
Date Published
22 pages
Based on social disorganization theory, this study examined the effects of churchesa common and important neighborhood organizationon neighborhood social processes related to crime prevention (i.e., informal social control, social ties, conventional values).

Neighborhood organizations are important aspects of the urban landscape that are increasingly being studied in relationship to crime; however, the neighborhood mechanisms through which organizations are hypothesized to affect crime have rarely been examined. In the current study, these processes were measured with survey data from approximately 2,300 residents in 66 neighborhoods. Several measures for churches were examined in relation to these social processes, using multilevel modeling. Data were from several sources, including survey data previously collected for a National Institute of Justice-funded study, the U.S. Census Bureau, and Polk City Directories. Findings show that churches have significant effects on the processes examined; however, the type of church measure used impacted these findings, along with the total number of churches in the neighborhood and within a buffer zone around the neighborhood. Mainline Protestant, community-oriented ("Bridging"), and Evangelical Protestant churches had significant (or marginally significant) effects on at least one process examined, although some of these effects were only in disadvantaged neighborhoods. (Publisher abstract modified)

Date Published: January 1, 2019