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Crime is a social evil; it is an act punishable by law. In sociological terms, any act that is forbidden by law or punishable by law is known as crime. Crime includes many offences that range from large level to small. Some of the examples of criminal activities are stealing, robbery, murder, drunk driving and carriage of drugs. The jurisdiction of crime changes from region to region; the activities that are considered a crime in a country or state may be a very normal activity in just the land across the border.
There are a number of causes that contribute to criminal activity. These causes or reasons are usually very complex but can be resolved with a little effort. These reasons may be poverty, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, low self-esteem, and parental neglect etc., however all these issues can be controlled by the use of various means. One of the important means of controlling crime and the reasons behind them is collective efficacy. Collective efficacy helps a great deal in controlling and preventing crime. It also prevents the reasons which give rise to criminal minds. Various scholars have presented different views regarding collective efficacy (Sampson). In addition to this, experts and scholars have also discussed the conditions that can be developed in order to promote collective efficacy.
What is collective efficacy?
Collective efficacy is an extremely important concept in the circles of communities and crime literature. It has garnered much importance and attention in recent years among sociologists, criminologists and psychologists as it is a term used specifically in the subjects of sociology or criminology. Collective efficacy is the power of the members of a community to control the behaviors of the other people residing in the same society. It includes behaviors, norms, actions and values that are used by the members of a particular society in order to achieve public order and peace in the particular community (Wilcox). It is also known as social cohesion. This concept allows the members of the society to inculcate positive behaviors in the society which ultimately leads to a happy, peaceful and crime-free society.
How collective efficacy can be achieved?
Collective efficacy is considered to heavily reduce the likelihood of the crime in a society or a community by controlling the situation of the order and control. It prevents public disputes from turning into a dispute or violent situation (Sampson). The societies that have fewer resources and more population have fewer chances to develop collective efficacy. However the communities that have a large number of resources and less population have a high rate of collective efficacy or social cohesion. Providing stable income or secure chances of earning money to the members of society also increases the chances of the development of collective efficacy which ultimately results in the reduced level of crime in the society (Morenoff). The level of social independence or social interdependence also affects the level of collective efficacy in a community. High level of interdependence on each other reduces the level of crime in the society and increases the ability or power of the members of the society to control each other.
In a nutshell, it can be concluded, that collective efficacy proves to be a very positive factor in the prevention and control of crime in a society. The bonding and communication between the members of a community predict how high or less the level of crime in a society will be. Collective efficacy can be developed by providing stable and equal opportunities of employment, increasing the interdependence and dividing the resources present in the community fairly.
Morenoff, Jeffrey D., Robert J. Sampson, and Stephen W. Raudenbush. "Neighborhood inequality, collective efficacy, and the spatial dynamics of urban violence." Criminology 39.3 (2001): 517-558.
Sampson, Robert J., Jeffrey D. Morenoff, and Felton Earls. "Beyond social capital: Spatial dynamics of collective efficacy for children." American sociological review (1999): 633-660.
Sampson, Robert J., Stephen W. Raudenbush, and Felton Earls. "Neighborhoods and violent crime: A multilevel study of collective efficacy." Science 277.5328 (1997): 918-924.
Wilcox, Pamela, Francis T. Cullen, and Ben Feldmeyer. Communities and Crime: An Enduring American Challenge. , 2018. Print.
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