Be in the KNOW: Collective efficacy & community and public affairs

By Office of the Provost Marshal General, Law Enforcement DivisionOctober 26, 2023

(Photo Credit: Scott Prater) VIEW ORIGINAL

Collective Efficacy & Community

Collective Efficacy: Taking Action to Improve Neighborhoods (Brian R. Higgins & Joel Hunt) - The concept of collective efficacy plays a vital role in bringing communities together. It refers to the shared belief among community members about acceptable behavior and how they support and reinforce it in one another. This aspect can explain why some communities are better at fighting crime and disorder than others. Strengthening the community involves connecting with members, identifying and encouraging good behavior, and taking action when necessary. Collaboration with other stakeholders and organizations can address bigger issues and create a safer, more connected community. Steps to achieve this include research, problem-solving, targeting interventions, restoring anchor points, organizing the community, and promoting volunteerism.

Practices in Modern Policing: Policing in small, Rural, and Tribal Communities (IACP) - Small, rural, and tribal law enforcement agencies face challenges due to limited resources and officers but perform the same essential functions: law enforcement, crime prevention, traffic control, protection of civil rights and liberties, solving crimes, and preventing terrorism. Community-oriented policing can help overcome these challenges through partnerships, problem-solving, and creative organizational design. There is no one-size-fits-all solution, as implementation will vary depending on agency size, location, and resources.

Neighborhoods and Crime: Collective Efficacy and Social Cohesion in Miami-Dade County (Craig D. Uchida; Marc L. Swatt; Shellie E. Solomon; Sean Varano) - Researchers found that perceptions of collective efficacy and social cohesion are separate but related concepts. Relationships between these perceptions varied between neighborhoods and were predictive of incivilities in some neighborhoods but not others. Different social activities were associated with perceptions of collective efficacy and social cohesion in different ways. Policy interventions should focus on distinctive environments within larger neighborhoods. The study looked at eight neighborhoods in Miami-Dade County.

Social cohesion, mutual efficacy and informal social control: Collective efficacy and community-based crime prevention (Michael C. Gearhart) - The concept of collective efficacy is often used to prevent community-based crime by analyzing how social cohesion can act as informal social control. Previous research found that mutual efficacy, or the belief that collective action can be successful, is linked to social cohesion and informal social control. However, previous measurement of mutual efficacy was limited. A new study using a mutual efficacy scale found that social cohesion, mutual efficacy, and informal social control are distinct but positively correlated. Mutual efficacy was found to partially mediate the relationship between social cohesion and informal social control. Therefore, building social cohesion and raising mutual efficacy are important for effective community-based crime prevention interventions.

Public Affairs

Crime Prevention Publicity Campaigns (Emmanuel Barthe) - Police departments can take action to reduce crime by implementing innovative strategies and promoting them through well-designed publicity campaigns. Campaigns raise awareness and educate the public, making them an effective tool in the fight against crime. By incorporating practical crime prevention measures into their initiatives, departments can make a tangible impact on reducing crime and improving community safety.

Social Media Considerations (Policy) (IACP) - Social media can help law enforcement with community engagement, problem-solving, investigations, and crime prevention. It improves communication, collaboration, and productivity. To maximize these benefits, partner with the Public Affairs Office, implement policies and establish procedures for managing and overseeing local social media operations.