Lecture 8: Neighborhoods and Crime: Social Disorganization Theory

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Social Ecology
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Cities naturally created different types of areas in their growth
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Park and Burgess
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Suggest that cities are built through a natural growth poccess similar to plants The city will naturally take the form of 5 concentric zones
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The 5 Concentric Zones
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1. Central Business District 2. Transitional Zone (Recent Immigrant Groups)- deteriorated housing, factories, abandoned buildings This is the most dangerous zone 3. Working Class Zone- Single family tenements 4. Residential Zone- Single Family Homes, Yards/Garages 5. Commuter Zone- Suburbs this is known as the \”american dream\”
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Shaw and McKay
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Argued that the basic rate of crime should stay the same relative to the zones themselves High rates of delinquency found near areas with close proximity to industrial and commercial areas They only looked at the juvenile records
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What are the characteristics of the delinquent areas?
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Physical Deterioration-nobody wants to invest in housing too close to expanding industry Decreasing Population Low rents and low income families High percentage of new immigrants and minority families Poverty, Mobility, and Ethnic Heterogeneity
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Social Disorganization
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The inability of communities to solve problems or achieve their residents’ common goals All have different motives
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Shaw and McKay’s Social Disorganization Model
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Poverty, Mobility, and Ethnic Heterogeneity→ Social Disorganization→ Crime and Delinquency
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Collective efficacy
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Mutual Trust and Willingness to intervene for the common good Neighborhoods that lack collective efficacy—there will be higher levels of violence
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Measures of Collective Efficacy
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1. Informal Social Control 2. Social Cohesion and Trust: 3. Violence
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Theoretical Model
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Concentrated Disadvantage, Immigration, Residential→ Reduced Collective Efficacy→ Violence
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Broken Windows Theory
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Minor forms of public disorder (like graffiti) lead to serious crime…this results in zero-tolerance policies that crack down on minor offenses
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Zimbardo Car Study
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Left \”abandoned\” car in two different places and in the Bronx it was vandalized
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Sampson and Raudenbush
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Found that neighborhoods with low levels of collective efficacy had higher levels of social and physical disorder
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Moving to Opportunity (MTO) Study
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Tried to test the theory about neighborhoods causing violence but it didn’t work because people moved to a neighborhood very close to theirs so it did not change that much
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Operation Weed and Seed
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1. Enhanced neighborhood coordination: Analysis of neighborhood problems and development of a plan with law enforcement to deal with them 2. \”Weeding:\” Weed out drug traffickers and violent offenders through arrest and prosecution 3. Community Policing: Involving police officers in helping the community solve its problems 4. \”Seeding:\” Elimination harmful behavior through human services
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\”Latino Paradox\”
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Hispanic Americans are less violent than one would expect given their level of socioeconomic disadvantage in the United States Do better in other areas too: Longer life expectancy, fewer chronic diseases
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Immigration with Crime
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Despite the focus on early theories as immigration as a cause of violent neighborhoods, recent evidence suggests that immigrants might actually make neighborhoods safer

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