Crime & Justice Policy

Beyond Their Absence: Male Intergenerational Social Ties and Community Informal Social Control

Warner, B.D.; Berg, M.T.



Examine the degree to which adult male social ties with neighborhood youth, or intergenerational ties, increase the perceived willingness of residents to engage in the informal social control of children.


Survey data from approximately 2,200 residents in 64 neighborhoods along with neighborhood census variables are used to examine the effects of male intergenerational social ties with youth on informal social control. Multilevel linear regression equations adjust for measures of social ties, social cohesion and trust, lagged official crime rates, and the proportion of residents that are males.


Male intergenerational social ties with youth are found to be an important and unique source of informal social control of children net of other forms of neighborhood social organization, and informal social control of children is shown to decrease neighborhood crime rates.


This study provides support for assumptions implied in the urban underclass and social disorganization literatures regarding the positive role of male ties (outside of the family) in collective crime prevention capacity.