Kimeca LaSalle University of Phoenix CJA/ 384 January 15, 2012
Social Disorganization Question and Answer
* What is Social disorganization?
Central to social disorganization theory are the neighborhood mechanisms that reduce crime and disorder. Foremost among these are residents’ social ties and the degree to which people exercise social control in their neighborhoods. Social ties and informal control are theorized as mediating the effects of exogenous sources of social disorganization (e.g., poverty, residential instability, ethnic heterogeneity) on neighborhood crime. Examples of informal control include residents’ efforts to prevent or sanction disorderly and criminal conduct through informal surveillance of the streets and direct intervention in problems, such as questioning persons about suspicious activity, admonishing individuals who are misbehaving, and informing parents about their children’s misconduct. Examples of social ties are local friendship networks, recreational activities between neighbors, and attendance at local community meetings. These ties may increase residents’ capacity to engage in social control over individuals in the community, thus reducing crime and disorder. As Bursik (1988:527) writes, the “breadth and strength of local networks directly affect the effectiveness” of “community social control. Social disorganization theory focuses on the relationship between neighborhood structure, social control, and crime. Recent theoretical and empirical work on the relationship between community characteristics and crime has led to important refinements of social disorganization theory, yet there remain some substantive and...