The willingness to intervene in problematic neighbourhood situations: A comparison of local entrepreneurs and (un-)employed residents


By emphasising that businesses attract offenders or generate ‘eyes on the street’ discouraging potential offenders, previous studies have largely neglected the active role of local business owners. As neighbourhood business owners have both individual and professional local stakes, they may take responsibility for a place and its immediate surroundings. Using a dataset of 895 residents and 385 entrepreneurs nested within 161 residential neighbourhoods, we show that local business owners are more willing to intervene in disorderly situations than unemployed residents. The findings suggest that this is caused by them having both higher expectations about intervention by others and greater belief in their own problem-solving capabilities. We speculate that although entrepreneurs only report higher willingness than unemployed residents but not employed residents, their presence may nevertheless influence neighbourhood order because they spend much time locally and thus have many opportunities to turn their willingness into action on behalf of the neighbourhood.

Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie