Presentation on theme: "Structural Theories of Crime"— Presentation transcript:
1 Structural Theories of Crime 1. Social Structure2. Disorganization Theory
2 What is social structure? Constellation (or arrangement) of statuses, roles, norms, and valuesHow is it different from any other structure?Does everything have structure?Friendship, classroom, gangs, intimate homicide
3 Crystal Structure (crystal system) The atomic arrangement of the atoms of an element when it is in its solid state
4 What is social structure? Social structure refers to that way in which a society is organized into predictable relationships
5 What is social structure? Social structure is flexibleA particular social setting/interaction has its own structureAscribed/achieved status
6 Social Structure Theories Explain crime by reference to the institutional structure of societyAgents are passiveSocial structure is imposed on themSocial structure theorists view members of economically disadvantaged groups as being more likely to commit crimes (structure made them disadvantaged)
7 Social Structure Theories They see economic and social disenfranchisement as fundamental cause of crimeStructure causes crime
8 Social Structure Theories Crime is seen largely as a lower-class phenomenonCriminality of middle class is generally discounted as less severe, less frequent, and less dangerous
9 Social Structure Theories Disorganization TheoryStrain TheoriesCultural Deviance Theory (combined the effects of the first two)
10 Social Disorganization Theory Crime is caused primarily by social factorsOfficial statistics are OK, but fieldwork is better (acceptance of official arrest data)The city is a perfect natural laboratory (Chicago reflects society as a whole)Components of social structure are unstable (conflict, anomie, social disorganization)
11 Social Disorganization Theory Instabilities and their effects are worse for the lower classes (lower class crime focus)Human nature is basically good but subject to vulnerability and inability to resist temptation
12 Social disorganization definition Social disorganization is defined as an inability of community members to achieve shared values or to solve jointly experienced problems (Bursik, 1988).
13 CONCENTRIC ZONE THEORY Park and Burgess (1920s) saw cities as consisting of five zones:Zone I - Central buisnessZone II - Zone of TransitionZone III - Working Class HomesZone IV - Middle Class HomesZone V - Commuters
15 CONCENTRIC ZONE THEORY Crime rates were then monitored for each of these geographic regions.The highest crime rate was found to be located in the zone that had been labeled Zone II (zone of transition)Zone II was marked by a high level of transition, people moving in and out of the areaIt was hypothesized that this "zone of transition" led to social disorganization.
16 CONCENTRIC ZONE THEORY They defined social disorganization as "the inability of a group to engage in self-regulation" which is a social control theoretic formulationTheir model of the city tested well in most modern planned cities
17 Shaw and McKay (1930s) Inspired by Park and Burgess They collected their data from over 56,000 juvenile court records with covered a period of time fromThey found that delinquency occurred in the areas nearest to the business districtThose areas were characterized by a high percentage of immigrants, non-whites, lower income familesHigh-delinquency areas had an acceptance of nonconventional norms, which competed with conventional ones
18 Shaw and McKay (1930s)Were concerned about the three D's of poverty: Disease, Deterioration, and DemoralizationThey never said that poverty causes crimeThey only said that "poverty areas" tended to have high rates of residential mobility and racial heterogeneity that made it difficult for communities in those areas to avoid becoming socially disorganized
19 Shaw and McKay's Model Residential Mobility Poverty Racial HeterogeneityDisorganizationCrime
23 Sampson and Grove (1989) Residential Mobility Low Economic Status Racial HeterogeneityFamily DisruptionPopulation Density/UrbanizationUnsupervised teen-age peer groupsLow organizational participationSpare local friendship networksCrime
24 Residential mobilityWhen the population of an area is constantly changing, the residents have fewer opportunities to develop strong, personal ties to one another and to participate in community organizations
25 Ethnic diversityAccording to Shaw and McKay (1942), ethnic diversity interferes with communication among adults. Effective communication is less likely in the face of ethnic diversity because differences in customs and a lack of shared experiences may breed fear and mistrust (Sampson and Groves, 1989).
26 Family disruptionSampson (1985) argued that unshared parenting strains parents' resources of time, money, and energy, which interferes with their ability to supervise their children and communicate with other adults in the neighborhoodThe smaller the number of parents in a community relative to the number of children, the more limited the networks of adult supervision will be for all the children
27 Economic statusAreas with the lowest average socioeconomic status will also have the greatest residential instability and ethnic diversity, which in turn will create social disorganization (Bursik and Grasmick, 1993)Many studies have found that urban neighborhoods with high rates of poverty also have greater rates of delinquency (Warner and Pierce, 1993).
28 Population densityHigh population density creates problems by producing anonymity that interferes with accountability to neighbors
29 Collective efficacy and neighborhood safety Robert Sampson (1990)Concept of “collective efficacy” captures “trust” and “cohesion” on one hand and shared expectations for control on the otherCollective efficacy is associated with lower rates of violence
30 Collective EfficacyInformal Social Control: peers, families, relatives, neighborsFormal Social Control: schools, churches, volunteer organizations