This thesis analyzes the possible influence of social capital on the levels of fear of crime perceived by residents of Bogotá. The thesis focuses on the potential role of social networks and the individual perception of collective efficacy of neighborhoods in the metropolitan area of the Colombian capital. According to current theoretical developments, people who belong to social networks and actively participate in them expect reciprocity from their peers in case of a criminal event. Thus, they will benefit from an inhibiting effect on their individual levels of fear of crime. Following the statistics, the security situation in the city of Bogotá has improved during the last years. For example, the homicide rates have ostensibly dropped in the last 20 years and other crimes, such as robberies and burglaries, have stabilized within normal occurrence rates compared to the historical average. Nevertheless, citizens of Bogotá feel more insecure and perceive higher risks of being a victim of crime than 10 years ago. This seemingly paradoxical situation suggests a gap between the subjective feelings of citizens and objective criminal rates registered by different authorities. As most of the theoretical and empirical research has focused on the study of facilitators of fear of crime, using quantitative methodologies, this thesis will focus on the study of inhibitors of fear. To understand levels of fear of crime in neighborhoods of Bogotá it adopts a qualitative methodology. In addition, it inquires for the most relevant factors that produce fear of crime and suggests policy recommendations to make people feel safer in the city. The results show that the role of social networks in inhibiting individual levels of fear of crime depends on the quantity and quality of pooled resources that a community has. Neighborhoods with more social, economic and institutional resources provide environments and milieus where people feel safer. This perception of collective efficacy to advance communal goals plays a pivotal role in the inhibition of fear of crime and is stronger in more cohesive and organized neighborhoods. Finally, high levels of fear of crime lead to less participation in neighborhoods where illegal armed groups exert de facto control of the territory, hampering the already low levels of social capital in these communities.
Agregar etiquetas para Considerations on perception and reality: understanding the discrepancy between subjective feelings of (in) security and objective crime rates in Bogotá, Colombia. A social capital perspective