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Validity of Incivility Measures in Public Housing

NCJ Number
Justice Querterly Volume: 16 Issue: 4 Dated: December 1999 Pages: 793-818
Alex Piquero
Finn-Aage Esbensen
Date Published
26 pages
Recognizing that both criminologists and policy makers have argued that abandoned cars, buildings, and apartment units, as well as public drunkenness and graffiti, communicate the absence of formal and informal social control, the current study measured incivilities or signs of disorder in two public housing developments in Denver, Colorado.
Wilson and Kelling hypothesized incivilities or signs of disorder would lead to higher rates of crime, victimization, and fear of crime. Taylor identified four types of measurement strategies for incivilities, including resident perceptions and on-site assessments. Both studies were considered in the analysis of Denver public housing developments using exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis. Interviews were conducted during three time periods to examine neighborhood changes, interactions among residents, awareness of antidrug programs, ranking of various crimes, perceived safety, drug use and availability, personal contacts with the police, and perceived and objective assessments of incivilities. Results appeared to index different factors (between-measurement heterogeneity), and variations also existed within on-site assessments (within-measurement heterogeneity). The analysis did not produce evidence of multimethod convergent validity. Implications of the results for future research are addressed. 84 references, 10 footnotes, and 4 tables


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