Understanding the Spatial Distribution of Crime Why do crime rates differ from place to place within a city?
Chicago School Social Ecology Park and Burgess (1928) Studied Chicago in the early 20 th century Wanted to understand the spatial distribution of social problems
Chicago School Model Concentric zone model I.CBD II.Zone of Transition III.Working Class Zone IV.Residential Zone V.Commuter Zone I II III IV V Growing cities expand outward as people compete for good space
Crime and the Chicago School Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay Mapped addresses of juvenile delinquents in Chicago from 1920-50 in conjunction with other social variables, including: –Poverty –Residential mobility –Ethnic heterogeneity Found substantial correlations
Chicago School Findings Crime was highest in zone of transition (Zone 2). where poverty, mobility, and ethnic heterogeneity also were highest High crime persisted in Zone 2 regardless of which ethnic group lived there Over time, ethnic groups that left Zone 2 committed less crime, ethnic groups that entered committed more crime
Why did the zone of transition have the most crime? Poverty Ethnic heterogeneity (foreign born) Residential mobility (in and out)
Shaw and McKay’s Conclusion Place matters Crime was NOT due to inferior biology or ethnic pathology Sociology is a relevant discipline
The Social Disorganization Model Poverty Residential Mobility Ethnic Heterogeneity Social Disorganization Crime Criminal Subculture Structural Characteristics
What exactly is social disorganization? Social disorganization: –Sparse local networks, weak social ties –Low organizational participation Translates into: –Inability to solve local problems –Breakdown in surveillance –Adults less able to socialize and control youth
Recent Conceptualization: Social Control thru Social Ties Private ties– close knit - friends, family, and neighbors – avoid their disapproval Parochial ties – less frequent - schools, churches, and voluntary associations – enhance surveillance, information flow Public ties – ties to government agencies – shape policing methods to suit community needs, acquire other social programs
How do Networks Work? Disorganized community – few social ties X X X X X X X X X X Gov’t institutions X’s are people in a neighborhood, lines are social ties
How do Networks Work? Private social ties dominate, social control limited to immediate network members X X X X X X X X X X Gov’t institutions
How do Networks Matter? Parochial and public social ties dominate –> social controls has a wider reach X X X X X X X X X X Gov’t institutions
How do Networks Matter? Private, parochial and public social ties dominate –> maximum social control X X X X X X X X X X Gov’t institutions
Criminal Justice Policy Disorganized communities are the largest contributors to the prison population Can removing and returning criminals from a community be bad for the community’s social organization?
Implications for Crime Control Poverty Residential Mobility Ethnic Heterogeneity Social Disorganization Crime Criminal Subculture Structural Characteristics