Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Ruth A. Triplett
Randy R. Gainey
Studies of social capital and crime have become quite popular in recent history, and a plethora of empirical tests have sought to clarify relationships between the two variables. However, most of these studies center on communities in the United States, and often overlook the many differentiating features between urban and rural communities that would affect such models. Reasons offered for such skew in the past and current research on this subject are middling at best, and largely cite either a lack of availability in data for crime and social capital in non-urban communities, or questionable accuracy for what data is accessible. This dissertation sought to address both the lack of research on social capital effects on crime rates in communities outside of the U.S., and the lack of consideration of urbanization level in such research. Hypotheses derived under these general goals were tested using a combination of multivariate regression analyses and structural equation modeling on datasets provided by the Office of National Statistics (U.K.) and the British Social Attitudes Survey. Findings revealed social capital and crime models vary between urban and rural communities. It was also revealed that models of social capital and crime are contingent upon crime type and urbanization level. Conclusions and implications from this research suggested social capital is relevant in social capital-crime discourse in the U.K., but not always in the ways that current literature suggests it would be. Additionally, it was clear that greater specificity in social capital-crime models in the U.K. is warranted as the data revealed such models are only relevant for a limited combination of crime and community types. Future research should expand towards clarifying the relationship between social capital and crime rates in rural U.K. areas, incorporate more definitions of social capital driven by the idiosyncratic features of urban and rural communities, and consider more exploration of these models in countries typically underrepresented in the literature.
Smith, Kyshawn K., "Making the Case for Place: An Exploration of Urbanization Measures on a Model of Social Capital and U.K. Crime Rates" (2016). Sociology & Criminal Justice Theses & Dissertations. 7.