Violence and Victims

Gregory M. Zimmerman and Steven F. Messner*

Messner

ABSTRACT
Research suggests that street efficacy—the perceived ability to avoid dangerous situations in one’s neighborhood—is related to violent outcomes. We investigated change in street efficacy using data from the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. Measures of street efficacy and violence (offending, victimization, secondary exposure) were constructed at Waves 2 (1997–2000) and 3 (2000–2002) from youth interviews and parent reports. Results from hierarchical overdispersed Poisson models indicated that street efficacy was a malleable construct with stronger contemporaneous than enduring effects. Furthermore, rates of all three violent outcomes were reduced as individuals increased their levels of street efficacy. Findings support (a) teaching youths to safely navigate violent neighborhood situations and (b) continuously reinforcing youths’ perceived ability to navigate danger.

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* Denotes CSDA Associates and Staff