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Incivilities Thesis: Theory, Measurement, and Policy (From Measuring What Matters: Proceedings From the Policing Research Institute Meetings, P 65-88, 1999, Robert H. Langworthy, ed. -- See NCJ-170610)

NCJ Number
Ralph B. Taylor
Date Published
24 pages

This paper traces the theoretical evolution over the last two decades of a close-knit family of theories linking incivilities to reactions to crime, crime changes, and neighborhood changes.


Incivility indicators are social and physical conditions in a neighborhood that are viewed as troublesome and potentially threatening by its residents and users of its public spaces. Recent theorists have shifted from a psychological to an ecological perspective on responsible processes; expanded the scope of relevant outcomes; separated the causes of crime from the causes of incivilities, justifying a separate policy and theoretical focus on the latter; and switched from a cross-sectional to a longitudinal focus. Researchers have not yet examined the discriminant validity of incivilities indicators; do not yet know whether those indicators display multimethod convergent validity; and do not know if incivility indicators capturing change display convergent validity. Figures, notes, references