Stronger neighbourhood ties can reduce crime


The article Bolstering community ties as a mean of reducing crime
is published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization
Authors: Magdalena Domínguez and Daniel Montolio

  • An intervention aimed at improving health and boosting disadvantaged neighbourhoods, instead, led to reductions in intimate crimes and drug crimes.
  • Researchers conclude that crime decreased because of enhanced relations between the inhabitants.
  • Alternatives to “tougher measures”, in terms of policies and interventions, can help reduce crime in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.
The graph shows the effect of the policy on the number of intimate crimes and neighborhood associations. After the policy, more neighborhood associations are developed (a proxy for stronger ties between residents) and intimate crimes decrease.

A community health policy that aimed at improving health and strengthening the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Barcelona had the effect of reducing crime.

The programme comprised meetings held in the neighbourhood to discuss issues around health and well-being. When the researchers examined the effects of these meetings, they found no evidence of health improvements; instead, they found that crime in the local neighbourhood decreased.

Intimate crimes decreased by 28%; crimes against persons decreased by 12%; and other crimes, including drug offenses, decreased by 18%. The rate of offenses among young people also went down.

The researchers conclude that crime went down because the community became more close-knit and that the meetings created relationships that were more important than the content of the meetings themselves.

The results are important in the work of finding alternatives or complements to the more traditional ways of working with crime and crime prevention.

The cost of the effort was approximately 70 EUR per year for each programme participant; a low price to reduce crime in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.


Last modified: 2021-09-20