Social Disorganization Theory Essay

Social Disorganization Theory


For most criminological theories, offense is believed to be a changeless quota in any society. Persons are met with certain demands that extend to or off from condemnable behaviours, but the terminal consequence normally leads to deviant behaviours because of the person’s societal environment. With a person’s environment, an person is met assorted challenges: whether or non to brush up the trash-littered street, to watch over the child sitting entirely near an abandoned edifice, or to name the constabulary because of a twosome shouting in the third-story flat composite. If that individual is met with those challenges, so disorganisation is present with that person and possibly effects society as a whole. However, what is societal disorganisation, and what can truly do a individual to be socially disorganized and what makes them take to condemnable behaviours? This paper will briefly depict the construct of societal disorganisation theory, an version to the theory, a personal contemplation based on the Charleston Police Department in South Carolina, and policy deductions including the Chicago Area Project and CompStat.

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Keyword ( s ) : societal disorganisation, Shaw and McKay, condemnable behaviour, societal

environment, challenge, Chicago Area Project, CompStat

Social Disorganization Theory

Social disorganisation theory was introduced by Clifford Shaw and Henry McKay, members of the diverse group of bookmans referred to as the Chicago School. One noteworthy repeating subject of the school is that human behaviour is developed and influenced by the societal and physical environment of the person instead than by their familial construction. Harmonizing to Shaw and McKay ( referenced in Williams & A ; McShane, 2014 ) , their belief was that “certain vicinities in all metropoliss have more offense than other parts of the city.” Crime is non an issue within certain countries of a sound and civilized, progressive society, but realized by the factors placed on the community itself. These factors may include poorness, the economic constructions of vicinities, unemployment rates for certain demographics, and a assortment of fortunes like age, gender, and faith.

Shaw and McKay interpreted that these issues within the community led and contradicted to societal upset and pandemonium. The Chicago School theoreticians saw the diminishing of primary societal relationships as a procedure of societal disorganisation. However, after Shaw and McKay’s version of societal disorganisation is based on a construct of primary relationships comparable to these found in a small town. Basically, what Shaw and McKay are stating is if friends and household coexist in harmoniousness, vicinities are sound and structured, and people are loyal to the country and others within it, so societal organisation is present. If these features are absent in any signifier, so an person or a community is socially disorganized.

Harmonizing to theoreticians Robert Sampson and Byron Groves, they listed four elements that identify factors of societal disorganisation within an environment. Within those elements, an person was affected by ( 1 ) low economic position, ( 2 ) integrating of different cultural groups, ( 3 ) extremely nomadic occupants traveling in and out of the country they live in, and ( 4 ) broken places or households ( Williams & A ; McShane, 2014 ) . Therefore, societal disorganisation is an account of the distribution of offense rates and delinquent behaviour.

These theoreticians, in my sentiment, made some really believable and logical point of views. The best illustration I can supply is my 11 old ages within the Charleston Police Department, which I have referenced in several of my old documents. There were a assortment of officers and employees that merely wanted to make the bare lower limit in their work. They ne’er asserted themselves in a more productive mode, and were absolutely content with that. On the other manus, there were other officers that strived to advance themselves by obtaining more instruction, doing more apprehensions, and besides take parting in societal events being given by sergeants, lieutenants, or superior bid staff members. This, so to talk, divided the section, doing the working environment hostile and unstable, turn outing the construct of societal disorganisation.

I would wish to add that my clip with the section, I had a assortment of assignment patrolling and protecting different socioeconomic backgrounds. This, in conformity with the doctrine of the Chicago School and societal disorganisation, is accurate to the consequences of unkempt countries. Vicinities at the low terminal of the societal environment, in most cases, had abandoned edifices, Parkss, and littered streets with rubbish. Because the occupants do non hold the resources in regenerating the vicinities, they have a feeling of licking. As a consequence, they truly do non look out for the public assistance of the vicinities or others within them. Very few would describe leery activities, or obvious condemnable activity, and they felt if it did non impact them personally, so they are non interested. This caused a divide in the societal environment, and perpetuated a deficiency of engagement and a direct correlativity to societal disorganisation.

Over the old ages, a assortment of plans have been implemented by constabulary and authorities bureaus to better vicinities and the conditions of them every bit good. One of the first methods of making so was the Chicago Area Project. It was founded in the 1930s by Clifford Shaw before his work on societal disorganisation had been published with Henry McKay. What the undertaking was to make was “reduce juvenile delinquency and better community life” in a figure of ways ( Chicago Area Project, 2014 ) . In many state of affairss, the program’s outreach is foremost directed to form community leaders and advance young person development and take duty for steering immature people out of hostile environments ( Chicago Area Project, 2014 ) . Because of the effects of the plan, vicinities did go organized, but alterations in socioeconomic position and societal environment caused jobs with support in the plan. Communities were doubting the program’s effectivity to battling offense and delinquent behaviours, despite the ends of the plan and the ends of societal disorganisation theory.

Another plan that made a profound impact on troubled communities was New York’s CompStat. It was introduced by transit officer Jack Maple, but implemented in the New York Police Department under constabulary commissioner William Bratton. In kernel, CompStat is a computing machine plan that analyzes offense informations and combines it with job work outing engineerings to place offense forms and jobs ( University of Maryland, 2014 ) . It embraces the targeted maps of crime-riddled countries and uses condemnable studies and instances to concentrate offense decrease in certain countries. Because of its execution, the plan helped cut down assorted per centums of offense including slaying rates and subway offenses ( University of Maryland, 2014 ) . As a consequence, several sections all over the state have introduced their ain versions of CompStat in order to cut down offense statistics and cut down societal disorganisation within certain environments.


Chicago Area Project. ( 2014 ) . Chicago Area Project. Retrieved from

hypertext transfer protocol: //

University of Maryland. ( 2014 ) .University of Maryland: Implementing and Commiting

CompStat in Maryland.University of Maryland. Retrieved from hypertext transfer protocol: //

Williams III, F.P. & A ; McShane, M.D. ( 2014 ) . Criminological Theory ( 6th Ed. ) .

Upper Saddle River: Pearson/Prentice Hall


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