Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences


Sociology and Anthropology

Committee Chair

James Nolan

Committee Co-Chair

Walter DeKeseredy

Committee Member

Walter DeKeseredy

Committee Member

Lisa Dilks


Currently, there is much debate about how to alleviate tensions between communities and police. These tensions do not illustrate the full scope of the problem, but show us symptoms of a larger, more structural issue. Many scholars point to procedural justice tactics as a way to increase the legitimacy of the police; thus, creating a safer environment where citizens do not fear the police but respect, obey, and defer to them. However, not every neighborhood is the same and not every neighborhood needs the same kind of policing style. Drawing on theories of collective efficacy and social cognition I propose that to make a community safer there should be evidence of an interdependent relationship between police and the community. To date, an analysis of procedural justice, police legitimacy, and neighborhood dynamics has not been conducted. Using results from an online survey of West Virginia residents aged 18 years or older, I examine how neighborhood dynamics measures can be used to indicate neighborhood atmospheres and how these have impacts on perceptions of fear of crime, risk of crime, reported quality of life, and perceptions of a drug problem. These differing neighborhood types can then inform policy to enact an appropriate policing style, one that leads to interdependence rather than conflict or dependence.

Included in

Criminology Commons