23, September, 2016

Social capital, collective efficacy, social-environmental factor and insecurity in communities

This brief is based on new research into community-based crime prevention in Latin America, focused on the case of El Salvador, identifying how actions to strengthen social ties, trust, and the willingness to act to confront crime are likely to be key to the effectiveness of such programmes.

Community-based Crime Prevention has begun to be perceived as a good initiative to meet the increasingly high levels of crime and violence in Latin America and in El Salvador. Our study indicates that for communities to cope with crime, violence and lack of security, the inhabitants of these communities, not only must trust each other – this is essential — but they must go further and have the will to act together to solve community problems. To achieve this virtuous circle, community-based crime prevention programmes need to strengthen the capacities and community institutions and improve the physical and social conditions that lead to disorder in the community and to criminal behaviour.


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Key Lessons:

  • High levels of collective efficacy are associated with lower levels of lack of security at the community level, which poses the challenge of increasing levels of community participation and trust between citizens.
  • Increasing the willingness of neighbors to act together in the context of high uncertainty for the common good.

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