Date of Award

8-1-2011

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

Criminology and Criminal Justice

First Advisor

Corsaro, Nicholas

Abstract

Social control is an important element to consider when examining crime and delinquency within a neighborhood. To date, the majority of research pertaining to social control has focused on informal social control at the private level. Recent research has suggested, however, that informal social control at the parochial level is gaining significance due to changes within society. Using individuals' perceptions measured through survey data in Peoria, Illinois, this study seeks to determine if neighborhood structural and social characteristics, posited by social disorganization theory, influence parochial informal social control actions the same way they influence private informal social control actions. Results show that neighborhood structural characteristics influence citizen perceptions of parochial informal social control. Individuals' living in disadvantaged and racially/ethnically diverse neighborhoods were more likely to perceive their neighbors to participate in parochial informal social control actions, e.g. calling the police, than individuals' who live in more advantaged neighborhoods. This suggests that social disorganization theory does not explain parochial informal social control the same way that it has been shown to explain private informal social control. Future studies should rely upon a variety of theoretical perspectives to better test the determinants of parochial informal social control, as well as examine other factors (such as police-citizen relations) that may influence individuals' perceptions of their neighbors participation in parochial informal social control.

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