Collective Efficacy

Collective Efficacy is a 10-item measure of neighborhood social cohesion and trust, and the ability or willingness of neighbors to intervene for the common good of the neighborhood (informal social control). In particular, respondents are asked to consider the quality of their neighborhood and rate the likelihood of different hypothetical situations occurring (e.g., people fighting). This measure of collective efficacy is widely used in criminology and social science research.


Geographies Tested: United States of America

Populations Included: Female, Male

Age Range:


Subscale: Informal Social Control:
What is the likelihood that your neighbors could be counted on to intervene in various ways if:
1. Children were skipping school and hanging out on a street corner
2. Children were spray-painting graffiti on a local building
3. Children were showing disrespect to an adult
4. A fight broke out in front of their house
5. The fire station closest to their home was threatened with budget cuts

Response Options:
Very likely - 1
Likely - 2
Neither likely nor unlikely - 3
Unlikely - 4
Very unlikely - 5

Subscale: Social Cohesion and Trust:
How strongly do you agree that:
6. People around here are willing to help their neighbors
7. This is a close-knit neighborhood
8. People in this neighborhood can be trusted
9. People in this neighborhood generally don't get along with each other*
10. People in this neighborhood do not share the same values*

*Items are reverse coded

Response Options:
Strongly agree - 1
Somewhat agree - 2
Neither agree nor disagree - 3
Somewhat disagree - 4
Strongly disagree - 5

Scoring Procedures

Responses are summed to create a neighborhood collective efficacy score; higher values indicate greater levels of collective efficacy.

Original Citation

Sampson, R. J., Raudenbush, S. W., & Earls, F. (1997). Neighborhoods and Violent Crime: A Multilevel Study of Collective Efficacy. Science, 277(5328), 918-924. doi: 10.1126/science.277.5328.918

Psychometric Score

Ease of Use Score

Scoring breakdown

Formative Research

Qualitative Research

Existing Literature/Theoretical Framework

Field Expert Input

Cognitive Interviews / Pilot Testing








Criterion (gold-standard)



Ease of Use


Scoring Clarity


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