Social disorganization theory was established by Shaw and Mckay (1942) in their famous work “Juvenile Delinquency and Urban Areas”. The main argument of the social disorganization theory is that, the place where people live will influence the individual’s behavior, and this may lead them to crimes. More precisely, certain characteristics of the neighborhood/community will strengthen or weaken the informal social control within the community, and this has mediating effect on crimes.
Social Disorganization; what is it? How does it affect me and the community that I live in? For many years’ residents in their particular community fought crime the best way they knew how. Some call the police, some protected their clan and yet others simply watch it happen, praying that they are not the next victim. So how do people stop crime when the police are nowhere around? Who can the residents turn to? The answer is simple; they turn to their neighbors.
The main assumption of Social Disorganization Theory is the ability to explain why crime committed by lower class communities is more prominent than neighborhoods from communities in better economic areas. This theory is the relationship of the destabilization of urban communities and neighborhoods through Shaw and McKay’s study (Quoted in Siegal, 2010) that used the analysis of Ernest Burgess’s Concentric Zones Model. This model generates ideas that the closer to “zone 2”, individuals in a community have more stress factors
Social disorganization theory explains the ecological difference in levels of crime, simply based on cultural and structural factors that influence the social order in a given community. Social disorganization is triggered by poverty, social stability, ethnic heterogeneity, and a few key elements. Although Clifford Shaw and Henry D. McKay (1942), were known for social disorganization theory, in 1947 Edwin Sutherland introduced the notion of a ecological differences in crime that is the result of differential social organization. Despite similar arguments on social organization, Shaw and Mckay argued that the cultural integration explained the ecological variation in crime rates as a result of the negative impact on the community. Also elaborating on structural socioeconomic factors shaping informal control like poverty, heterogeneity, and residential mobility. Later Robert Sampson and Byron Groves (1989), refined the work of Shaw and Mckay by highlighting on the importance of social ties and new measures of social disorganization.
There are No Children Here, by Alex Kotlowitz, tells a story about the family of LaJoe and Paul Rivers. The book focuses on Lafayette and Pharaoh, two of the younger children in the family, and their interactions with each other, the neighborhood, their family, their friends, and the police. Following the family over three years shows the importance of neighborhood factors when it comes to crime. According to Sampson and Groves (1989), social disorganization refers to “the inability of a community structure to realize the common values of its residents and maintain effective social controls”. Many aspects in the book exemplify how neighborhood factors, social controls, and community factors have impacts on crime. The book exemplifies how neighborhood disadvantage can lead to informal social controls, which in turn produces crime. Due to these factors, social disorganization is the best theory to explain the crime that occurs in There are No Children Here.
Using criminological terms and concepts, focus on a jurisdiction, neighborhood, or geographic locale with which you are familiar. Regarding a human behavior which you select to focus on in that geographical space, write two concise yet comprehensive paragraphs on how social disorganization theory can inform your understanding of behavior and place, and one weakness which would find your understanding somehow lacking, and why. Then write two equally compelling paragraphs on how routine activities theory would foster your understanding, and one weakness which might leave your understanding lacking, and why.
We can use the social disorganization theory to address the idea that crime and criminal networks thrive in social disorganized neighborhoods. This theory explain that an area in which there is a disintegration of conventional values caused by urbanization, rapid industrialization and an increase in immigration may causes the development of high crime (Adler, Mueller,Laufer & Grekul, 2009, p.160). Cultural deviance theory also combines certain parts of this theory since it explains how the different set of values of disadvantaged or disorganized neighborhoods contributes to criminal behavior (Adler, Mueller,Laufer & Grekul, 2009, p.130). These theories can be explained with the movie City of God, since it addresses the idea of the context in which crime and criminal networks flourish. City of God is a slum in Rio de Janeiro, a lower class area, marked by poverty with low income group. It is evident that there is a weak community institution in the slum, which is lacking of agents of social control such as the police or even strong familial or friends relationships. It is mainly the people who live in the City of God that maintain order.
When comparing violent crime rates between Corvallis, Oregon and Carbondale, Illinois, it’s important to look into what factors affect the big difference between the two. In comparing the two cities, I plan to use Social Disorganization Theory to explain why Carbondale, Illinois has higher violent crime rates than Corvallis, Oregon. Some of the factors I imagine contribute to the difference between the two are: poverty rate, average temperature, and level of homogeneity to name a few. I also plan to sneak in a little bit of Broken Windows theory to help explain the difference among the two.
So far, both theories are able to explain the crime inequality observed insides neighbourhoods; however, when it comes to explaining the difference in crime rates between neighbourhoods with similarly low levels of poverty, social disorganization theory is not able to fully explain why such difference may occur, as it places a greater focus on the internal dynamics of the neighbourhoods than on the external contingencies (Peterson & Krivo, 2010, p. 92). Based on Table 4.5 of Divergent Social Worlds: Neighborhood Crime and the Racial-Spatial DivideI, minority low-poverty areas have roughly two and a half times more violence than their white counterparts (Peterson & Krivo, 2010, p. 88). Social disorganization theory insists that residential instability (percent of those who owns and percent of those who rent) , population heterogeneity (internal differences, including ethno-racial differences), poverty (percent of those who live in poverty), income, deteriorating neighbourhood, and population loss (percent of those who leave due to deterioration) are mechanisms that leads to the absence of informal social control and increases social disorganization, causing the loss of control over youths who then hang out at spontaneous playgrounds and form gangs with delinquent traditions that get passed down through cultural transmission. If such was the case, then one would expect neighbourhoods with similar and comparable local conditions to have similar average rates of crimes. However,
The focus of this theory is on the association between social control, the neighborhood structure, and crime (Kubrin & Weitzer, 2003). Social disorganization is the incapability of the community to solve significant problems and achieve common goals. The theory posits that residential mobility, poverty, ethnic heterogeneity, and weak social networks decrease the ability of the neighborhood to manage the behavior of people and hence the likelihood of crime is increased (Kubrin & Weitzer, 2003). Therefore, the social and physical environments of neighborhoods can increase the chances robbery. Factors such as unemployment, vandalized buildings, and poverty can thus be used to explain the occurrence of robbery. When the robbery rates have increased in a neighborhood, an examination of the social and physical environment can yield answers to robbery patterns.
This week reading discuss social disorganization and collective efficacy. Higgins (2010) stated that the social disorganization theory where a person live is important in deciding if their is weakness to commit crime. In both text, it stated that social disorganization theory came from the Chicago School's social ecology movement. The theory stated that many factors such as "geography, population movement, and physical environment" and the combination of these factors can cause criminal behavior (Higgins, 2010, p. 30). In explain social disorganization theory, it is broken into zones. The concentric zones explain crime because these are the zones where individuals worked and lived. By having this view it can tell that crime is probably
“Overall, the broken windows theory did not support the theory that disorder directly causes crime. First of all, it is true that where violence was high, the levels of disorder detected and the relationship was not strong. Second, the level of disorder varied strongly with neighborhood structural characteristics, poverty being among them. Once these characteristics and collective efficacy were taken into account, the connection between disorder and crime vanished in most instances. Homicide, arguably one of the best measures of violence, was among the offenses for which there was no direct relationship with disorder.” (Sampson and Raudenbush, pg. 8)
This breakdown of organization and culture within a community leads to a lack of informal social control which in turn leads to higher crime rates especially in the juvenile population (Simons, Simons, Burt, Brody, & Cutrona, 2005). Social disorganization theory asserts that strong levels of connection within a community along with a sense of civic pride motivate individuals to take a more active role in the community therefore acting as a deterrent to crime.
Social disorganization is a macro-level theory which focuses on the ecological differences of crime and how structural and cultural factors shape the involvement of crime. A person’s residential location is a factor that has the ability to shape the likelihood of involvement in illegal activities. The social disorganization theory looks at how socioeconomic status and the environment affects individuals and motivates them to become a part of a gang. Shaw and McKay link area delinquency to three attributes of the social disorganization theory; economic deprivation, residential instability and race and