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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220739 Find in a Library
Title: Build the Capacity of Communities to Address Crime
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:4  Dated:November 2007  Pages:651-662
Author(s): Joie Acosta; David Chavis
Date Published: November 2007
Page Count: 12
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After discussing the value of community development in addressing crime, this essay identifies the four key components of community development and explains their relevance to crime, followed by policy recommendations for a community development approach.
Abstract: Research has consistently found that the root causes of crime are community issues, i.e., social, economic, educational, and environmental factors such as poverty, inequity, family disintegration, lack of education or employment options, the availability of drugs, low neighborhood and school attachment, and exposure to racial prejudice. The key components of community development that contribute to its ability to address crime are relationship building; the development of institutional, structural, and economic assets; engagement and collective action by citizens; and sustainable and institutionalized change. Relationship building creates an informal social network that influences citizen behavior and mediates some social conditions that contribute to crime, such as residential instability. Institutional, structural, and economic assets address negative community conditions over time, such as responsibility for neighborhood appearance, informal social control, attention to environmental deterrents to crime, and the promotion of workforce development and economic supports for families. Community development also involves developing a strategy for addressing complex social problems such as crime. Community development fosters sustainable and institutionalized change by encouraging community ownership of the resources, strategies, and capacity that continue to benefit the community. In order to promote these components of community development, the authors recommend a single capacity-building infrastructure that brings together national and local resources that support community-development activities. They also recommend that all public policies be assessed for their impact on community development. This essay also includes descriptions of the following national community development programs that address crime: Weed and Seed, YouthBuild, and the Drug-Free Communities Support Program. 20 references
Main Term(s): Criminology
Index Term(s): Community involvement; Community policing; Community relations; Community resources; Police community relations programs
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