Race and Social Problems

, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp 57-64

First online:

Which Factor has More Impact? An Examination of the Effects of Income Level, Perceived Neighborhood Disorder, and Crime on Community Care and Vigilance Among Low-Income African American Residents

  • Ronald O. PitnerAffiliated withCollege of Social Work, University of South Carolina Email author 
  • , ManSoo YuAffiliated withSchool of Social Work and Public Health Program, University of Missouri
  • , Edna BrownAffiliated withDepartment of Human Development and Family Studies, University of Connecticut

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This study investigated predictors of community care and vigilance among 70 African American residents living in high-crime, low-income neighborhoods. A stratified random sampling procedure was employed to select residents who completed a 20-item questionnaire assessing their sense of community care and vigilance and perceptions of perceived neighborhood physical and social disorder. We used police crime reports to assess the levels of property and violent offenses in the targeted neighborhoods. Our goal was to determine which of these variables best predicted community care and vigilance. The results of this study showed that social disorder and violent offenses negatively predicted community care and vigilance. Interestingly, the results also indicated that residents who reported the lowest income expressed the highest levels of community care and vigilance. Implications for community practice are discussed.


Income level Neighborhood violence African American Disorder Crime