Communities, Crime, and Neighborhood Organization

Wesley G. Skogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

85 Scopus citations


It is widely believed that voluntary action by neighborhood residents can play an important role in maintaining order. However, the ability of individuals to act in defense of their community is constrained by the opportunities for action that are available to them. Participation in collective efforts against crime is confined to places where the existence of local organizations makes that possible. The distribution of group activity across the metropolitan landscape thus defines the “opportunity structure” for local collective action. This article examines the impact of serious crime, the economic and social resources residents have to draw upon to deal with neighborhood problems, and their characteristic relationships with the police, upon those opportunities to participate in organized efforts to combat crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)437-457
Number of pages21
JournalCrime & Delinquency
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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