Social Disorganization Theory

January 10, 2018

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Social Disorganization Theory concentrates on the conditions within the municipal environment that influence crime rates. A disorganized area is a district in which units of social control – such as family, social establishments, and schools – have disintegrated and are unable to carry out their general or settled functions. Marks of social disorganization combine high rate of unemployment, school dropout rates, contaminated housing, poor income indicators, and high amount of single-parent homes. Inhabitants in these areas undergo conflict and depression, and consequently, antisocial conduct increases. Citizens in these crime-suffering neighborhoods have a strong desire to escape the area at the earliest convenience. Because they thirst to leave, they become indifferent to the values of community.

Community policing and Crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) can be overlooked as a part of a multifaceted crime prevention strategy. These parts accent the regular analysis of crime in specific area, it trustfully maintains community policing by implementing crime prevention strategies created to resolve specific problems. Government, citizens, and police have a part to play in crime prevention under the CPTED or community policing approach.


Nowadays, crime anticipation and crime have become an ordinary part of urban style of life that not only influences economic and social stability but also confines people in their option of space and time for all of their activities, such as habitation, education, working, shopping, eating and leisure. Crime is multi-aspect, having cultural, social, behavioral, economic, spatial and temporal facets.

Individuals are the civil creatures whose conduct demonstrate their environment, have had almost a complete effect on criminology in recent century. Social ecology is the learning and analysis of how human mutuality and relations are affected by a separate environment. Crime is one of the facets of social ecology. A central background of these traditions is that criminal misdeed can be found in the social and physical setting of an environment; that is, the arrangement may facilitate crime. In consideration ecological strengths, the criminologists try to deduce the environment aspect in criminal activity.

Human history is filled with the facts of how environment was put in action to effect definite behaviors or to prevent undesirable actions.Crowe stated that “studies of criminal assaults and rape show that offenders prefer heavily landscaped pathways to provide concealment and the element of surprise”(212). Sometimes CPTED strategies are used withoutofficial assignment for the management of events throughout the history of humanity. Since the 1972 republican and democratic political conventions in the United States, these strategies have been used in important and international events. The achievements have been evaluated in raised profits, decreased incidents, and an improvement of general security.

After investigating the problems of public residential projects and how they bring to increases in crime levels in any big residential building, it was stated that the alteration of concrete features of municipal architecture would decrease crime rate, and there were also proposed the physical regulations for the construction of a space that protects itself.

Galnes stated that “social disorganization theory holds that crime is related to the environmental pressures that exist in certain communities or neighborhoods. These areas are marked by the desire of many of their inhabitants to “get out” at the first possible opportunity. Consequently, residents tend to ignore the important institutions in the community, such as business and education, causing further erosion and an increase in the conditions that lead to crime”(43).

How exactly does such zone cause delinquency? There were defined a number of ecological features of the zone in transition that are suitable to answer this issue: physical disintegration (e.g., decaying or deserted buildings), population diversity (a combination of individuals from various ethnic communities), high mobility of inhabitants (permanent locomotion of residents in and out of the neighborship), and high rates of poorness. This ecological features disordered community formation (i.e., create social disarrangement). In other words, they interjected with a community’s capability to create and achieve common purposes – involving socializing, supervising and controlling children. For example, where population movability is high, neighbors are less confident to trust each other. Social units, such as educational institutions and community organizations that help to bring up youth are too demanding to establish and support when community members expect to leave at the first accessible opportunity.

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Vito said that “scholars refined the propositions in the theory and clearly defined social disorganization as the “inability of a community structure to realize common values of its residents and to maintain effective social controls. The other crucial factor was that researchers developed ways to measure directly this process. In other words, they were able to connect ecological factors such as poverty and residential mobility with community measures of social control”(144).

This interpretation raises the dreadful possibility that complete groups of Americans are constantly blocked from the “ladder of progress,” stuck in criminogenic neighborhoods and criminal course of poverty. As the description, makes completely clear the fact that groups shape generally of racial minorities. A key issue is why these groups were unable to make it out of the inner city.

The character of the neighborhood’s ecology defines the crime perpetration rate. Even in underprivileged areas, the crime rate is lower if the neighborhood, is less massively inhabited, is more entirely residential with less overflowing and deteriorated housing has a low density of demoralized habitants, and has a low police tolerance of defense.

The basic argument is that wide ecological factors, such as poorness, residential movability, and physical disintegration, influence community cohesion and ordinary social control. Cohesion and control in their turn effect crime perpetration. From a political perspective, one may concentrate the ecological aspect, the cohesion and social evolution of a neighborhood, or both.


Social disorganization theory became one of the most greatly investigated theories in criminology. Social disorganization theoreticians explored cities with diversified structures, social variety, and culture in an attempt to better comprehend how disorganization influences crime in our country and abroad. Finley stated “Social Disorganization Theory’s impact is without question, however, and its ideas have done much to increase the knowledge within the fields of criminology and criminal justice”(256).

A basic judgment of Social Disorganization theory is its restricted scope. Specifically, it concentrates on lower-class crime and the reasons that provoke it, and vastly disregards crime of the middle and upper class. The theory arguments focus on defining crime such as robbery, burglary, theft, murder and its explanations are restricted to such lower-class crime. Researches have used formal crime measures, which demonstrated disproportionately, increase of criminal activity of the lower class.

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Today, many researchers, theorist and criminal justice practitioners observe fear of crime as one of the principal causes of estrangement within communities, and contemporary theorists have increasingly connected this phenomenon into their investigation on disorganized districts. However, the probability of reducing the crime rates and opportunities for crime through the implementation of CPTED, place-based crime prevention principles, environmental designing, they should be carried out only by cooperation of both the planning of space and policing authorities.