Police Visibility, Trust in Police Fairness, and Collective Efficacy: A Multilevel Structural Equation Model

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"Areas high in collective efficacy—where residents know and trust one another, and are willing to intervene to solve neighbourhood problems—tend to experience less crime. Policing is thought to be one antecedent to collective efficacy, but little empirical research has explored this question. Using three waves of survey data collected from London residents over three consecutive years, and multilevel Structural Equation Modelling, this study tested the impact of police visibility and police-community engagement on collective efficacy. We explored direct effects as well as indirect effects through trust in police. The findings showed both levels of police visibility and police-community engagement predicted trust in police. Trust in police fairness, in turn, predicted collective efficacy. There was a small indirect relationship between police visibility and collective efficacy, through trust in police fairness. In other words, police presence in neighbourhoods was associated with more positive views about officer behaviour, which in turn was associated with collective efficacy. The findings have important implications for policies designed to build stronger, more resilient communities."

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