Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


School of Criminal Justice

Content Description

1 online resource (vii, 101 pages) : illustrations.

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Colin Loftin

Committee Members

Alan Lizotte, David McDowall, Greg Pogarsky


Informal Social Control, Neighborhood, Social Dilemmas, Neighborhoods, Social control, Crime prevention

Subject Categories



Prior literature on urban crime study has long indicated that residents' participation in informal social control activities is crucial in achieving low crime rates in urban neighborhoods. The question of what factors determine individual residents' decisions on whether or not to support collective crime prevention efforts, however, has yet to be addressed. The present study approaches this issue by bridging it with another important area of research-the study of social dilemmas-that explain cooperative tendencies in human groups. By defining informal social control as a form of collectively desirable action, the study tested the hypothesis that the solutions to social dilemmas developed by game theorists for achieving cooperation would also foster residents' tendency for promoting neighborhood order and enhance their support for the exercise of informal social control. The examination of multilevel data found that most of the hypothesized factors (e. g., normative beliefs, residential stability, perceived risk, interpersonal interaction, affiliation, attribution and expectation) directly or indirectly facilitate residents' approval of the participation in social control behavior. Therefore, the study validates the application of social dilemma perspective to the study of informal social control in neighborhood context.

Included in

Criminology Commons