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Social disorganization and police performance to burglary calls: a tale of two cities

Abdullah Cihan (Department of Criminal Justice, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 13 May 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine whether the distribution of police response time to in-progress burglaries differ according to the level of social disorganization across different neighborhoods.


Using 2006 calls for service data collected from the Dallas and Houston Police Departments and from the 2000 US Bureau of Census statistics, the effects of social disorganization on police performance were examined through multilevel analysis of the distribution of police response time patterns across different neighborhoods in Dallas and Houston.


The analysis of the DPD and HPD in-progress calls produced somewhat consistent findings on the relationship between the level of social disorganization and police response time. Concentrated disadvantage, immigrant concentration, and residential stability are important predictors of the distribution of police response time patterns in Dallas and Houston.

Practical implications

Neighborhood social disorganization is related to the distribution of agency response time patterns. Detailed response time analysis is crucial for agencies to improve police performance and the community-police relationship.


In the policing literature, researchers have tended to neglect rapid response when examining many aspects of policing. The present study expands on existing research by examining the theoretical link between the level of neighborhood social disorganization with the distribution of rapid police response to in-progress burglary in two cities.



The author wishes to acknowledge Larry Hoover, Yan Zhang, William King, and William Wells for their help and research assistance; the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments; and Kimberly Chism for editing and improving this study.


Cihan, A. (2014), "Social disorganization and police performance to burglary calls: a tale of two cities", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 37 No. 2, pp. 340-354.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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