Working title of PhD: Collective efficacy and crime in Nuevo Leon: the role of neighbourhood perceptions of the police
Year commenced PhD study: January 2018
Institution/Organisation: University of Edinburgh – School of Law
Funding Source: CONACYT (Mexican Government)
Full or part-time: Full-time
PhD Supervisors: Dr. Susan McVie and Dr. Paul Norris
The evidence in developed countries on Collective Efficacy (CE) suggests that low levels of this result in higher neighborhood crime rates, but it is not clear how consistent the CE-Crime relation is in more challenging contexts. In addition, the role that public perceptions of the police have on CE has not been researched sufficiently. The evidence available indicates strong positive associations between perceptions of the police and CE, but it is unknown if this is the case in Mexico. The importance of this academic effort is that positive perceptions of the police can contribute -or hinder- to motivate the residents of a neighbourhood to engage in acts of informal social control.
The aim of this research is to test the aforementioned relations in more extreme socioeconomic environments for three reasons. First, neighbourhood disadvantage strongly influences CE. Second, public perception of the police can vary according to different police features. Third, CE and perception of the police vary at the neighbourhood level.
This study adopts a mixed approach. Surveys will be conducted in selected urban neighbourhoods of the Monterrey Metropolitan Area (MMA), in Mexico to estimate a structural equation model. Then, focus groups will be organised to complement previous findings.
The expectation is that this research will contribute to inform public policies on focalised interventions that seek to strengthen informal social control at the neighbourhood level, which could be influenced by the police presence. Therefore, it is relevant to know what behaviours or features enhance or erode public confidence in them.
Keywords: collective efficacy, informal social control, public confidence in the police, structural equation analysis