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Problems, perceptions and actions: An interdependent process for generating informal social control.


Using two waves of survey data for residents in neighborhoods in Brisbane, this study explores the interdependent relationship between residents' perceptions of neighboring, cohesion, collective efficacy, neighborhood disorder, and the actions they take to address these problems. Our longitudinal results show that residents' perceived severity of a problem helps explain engaging in activity to address the problem. People loitering appeared to be the most galvanizing problem for residents, but had particularly deleterious effects on perceptions of cohesion and collective efficacy. We also find that residents who perceive more neighboring in their local area engage in more public and parochial social control activity and residents who live in collectively efficacious neighborhoods are more likely to engage in parochial social control action. Furthermore, residents who themselves perceive more collective efficacy in the neighborhood engage in more parochial or public social control during the subsequent time period. Importantly, we find strong evidence that residents update their sense of collective efficacy. Perceiving more problems in the neighborhood, and perceiving that these problems are increasing, reduced perceptions of neighboring and collective efficacy over time.

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