Community variations in violence: The role of social ties and collective efficacy in comparative context

Lorraine Mazerolle, Rebecca Wickes, James McBroom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

140 Citations (Scopus)


This article explores the relative roles of social ties and collective efficacy in explaining community variations in violent victimization in Australia. Using data from a survey of 2,859 residents across 82 communities in the city of Brisbane, coupled with official reported crime data provided by the Queensland Police Service and Australian Bureau of Statistics census data for 2001, the authors employ multilevel statistical models to depict the relative importance of social ties and collective efficacy in predicting between-neighborhood violent victimization in an Australian context. The models include measures of social relationships and community-based crime prevention programs, and the authors compare and contrast their findings with studies of collective efficacy in Chicago and Stockholm, finding similar results. These findings suggest that despite structural and cultural differences between the United States and Australia in particular, collective efficacy is a significant mechanism in explaining the spatial distribution of self-reported violent victimization in the Australian context. This research underscores the importance of cross-cultural theory testing and the need to further develop the measurement of ecological constructs such as social ties and organizational behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-30
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Collective efficacy
  • Crime prevention
  • Social ties
  • Urban communities
  • Violence

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