Social disorganization theory (Shaw 1942; 1969) suggests that communities with greater racial heterogeneity, residential mobility, and low socioeconomic status will be less organized, thereby less able to collectively repel criminal behavior. These characteristics describe many institutions of higher education (IHEs), so we should expect that IHEs would have higher crime rates than neighboring areas with greater social organization. However, recent explorations of social disorganization have considered the mitigating concept of collective efficacy. This research suggests that the characteristics of social control, social cohesion, and trust present in communities will mitigate crime (Sampson 1997). These community characteristics also describe many IHEs. The present research is well suited to explore the effectiveness of collective efficacy in mitigating crime in communities that might otherwise be characterized as socially disorganized. The data used to examine these issues come from law enforcement agencies, IHEs' Clery Act data, the U.S. Census Bureau's American Community Survey (Bureau 2020a), the National Center for Education Statistics, and publicly accessible data. The analysis was conducted using negative binomial regression and the hot spot analysis test of Getis-Ord Gi*. The effects of social disorganization on community crime are mediated by collective efficacy. This research highlights potential for Clery data to be analyzed using the same methodology as UCR and NIBRS data, IHEs to be included in research in the same manner as census tracts, and that spatial analysis of collective efficacy can provide a novel approach to studying the impact of social disorganization and collective efficacy on crime.
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Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Sciences
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Open Access)
DeCesare, Rebecca, "Beyond the Second Sidewalk: A Study of Collective Efficacy at Institutions of Higher Education and Surrounding Communities" (2021). Electronic Theses and Dissertations, 2020-. 492.