One of the most recognized facts about crime is that it is not randomly distributed across neighborhoods within a city. That is, crime does not occur equally in all areas; rather, it tends to cluster in certain locales but not others. It is for this reason that residents can often identify where the “good” and “bad” areas of a city are. Social disorganization theory takes this fact—the non-random distribution of crime—as a point of departure for explaining crime. It is one of only a handful of social structural theories of crime and the only one to consider why rates of crime vary across areas such as neighborhoods. Two key questions of interest for social disorganization theorists are as follows: (1) Why is crime higher in some neighborhoods than others? (2) Is there something about the characteristics of these neighborhoods themselves (above and beyond the people who live there) that fosters crime? Social disorganization theory has long occupied an important place in criminological thought and continues to do so well into the twenty-first century.
- Crime Rate
- Collective Efficacy
- Central Business District
- Residential Mobility
- Social Disorganization
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Kubrin, C.E. (2009). Social Disorganization Theory: Then, Now, and in the Future. In: Krohn, M., Lizotte, A., Hall, G. (eds) Handbook on Crime and Deviance. Handbooks of Sociology and Social Research. Springer, New York, NY. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0245-0_12
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