Collective Efficacy and Crime in Los Angeles Neighborhoods: Implications for the Latino Paradox


  • Special thanks go to Fred Markowitz and Lori Burrington for their helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of this work. Please direct correspondence to: Keri Burchfield, 908 Zulauf Hall, Department of Sociology, Northern Illinois University, DeKalb, IL 60115, USA; e-mail:


We use data from the Los Angeles Family and Neighborhood Study (LAFANS) to examine the degree to which social ties and collective efficacy influence neighborhood levels of crime, net of neighborhood structural characteristics. Results indicate that residential instability and collective efficacy were each associated with lower log odds of robbery victimization, while social ties had a positive effect on robbery victimization. Further, collective efficacy mediated 77 percent of the association between concentrated disadvantage and robbery victimization, while social ties had no mediating effect. The mediation effect for concentrated disadvantage, however, was substantially weaker in the Latino neighborhoods (where it was 52%) than in the non-Latino neighborhoods (where it was 82%), suggesting that a “Latino paradox” may be present in which crime rates in Latino neighborhoods appear to have less to do with local levels of collective efficacy than in non-Latino neighborhoods. Implications for future research bearing on both the Latino paradox and the systemic model of social control are discussed.