Social Disorganization Theory Essay

2418 Words Nov 15th, 2011 10 Pages

Written by Andrew Lien & Henry Nunnery

J201 Section: 23607 Theoretical Foundations of Criminal Justice Policies
Tuesdays, 06:00P-08:40P Instructor: Mark T. Berg, Ph.D.

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
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The results of his findings confirmed what the latter two researchers previously resulted, “…the relationship between delinquency and substandard housing showed a substantial but not significant correlation with delinquency.” Chilton did conclude however, that the overcrowded conditions and delinquency in Indianapolis correlated substantially. His definition of overcrowded was more than 1.5 persons per room (Walker, 2009).
During the 1970s and 1980s, the Social Disorganization Theory went on a steady decline due to the prominent features from so many criticisms of Shaw and McKay’s original research. However, in 1989 Sampson and Groves once again tried to make the theory work over in Great Britain. They deducted that the previous data relied on census data that was not a valid measurement of community structure or crime. Their definition of social disorganization was “low economic status, ethnic heterogeneity, residential mobility, and family disruption lead to community social disorganization” (Walker, 2009). These factors can make a dramatic increase in crime and delinquency rates.
In the 1990s, the United States were having issues with a heavy decline in its cities and a prominent increase in crime rates. These issues brought researchers once again the focus on social disorganization in neighborhoods as an explanation for why this is happening. They gave a lot of credit to the Social Disorganization Theory, but actually abandoned it as a

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