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Neighbourhood Characteristics and Reporting Crime: Effects of Social Cohesion, Confidence in Police Effectiveness and Socio-Economic Disadvantage

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 46 Issue: 4 Dated: July 2006 Pages: 719-742
Heike Goudriaan; Karin Wittebrood; Paul Nieuwbeerta
Date Published
July 2006
24 pages
This study examined the influence of neighborhood social cohesion, confidence in police effectiveness, and neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage on Dutch crime victims' reporting of offenses to police.
Findings show victims' decisions about whether or not to report their victimization to police was influenced by crime characteristics (type and severity of the crime), victim characteristics, and contextual features of the crime. The presence of social cohesion in a neighborhood was positively related to the probability that victims from that neighborhood would report their victimization to the police. The socioeconomic disadvantage in a neighborhood was negatively related to the probability that victims from that neighborhood would report their victimization to police. The probability of reporting crime to the police was especially low in neighborhoods with extreme socioeconomic disadvantage. The level of a victim's confidence in police effectiveness had no significant impact on crime reporting. The authors recommend additional research in order to identify the mechanisms that link a neighborhood's social context to the probability of reporting crimes to police. The study obtained data from the Netherlands' Police Population Monitor, a nationwide victimization survey that has been conducted every 2 years since 1993, using samples of 75,000 respondents on average. For the current study, the 1995, 1997, 1999, and 2001 data files were merged into 1 file with 110,950 victims. Respondents were asked about their experiences with 12 types of offenses in the 12 months preceding the survey and whether or not they reported their victimizations to police. The survey also includes social and demographic information on respondents. Zip codes were used to identify respondents' neighborhoods, and supplementary data sources were used to determine the characteristics of the neighborhoods. 5 tables, 3 figures, and 72 references