Crime and location -

Crime and location -

Crime and location There are several key questions which sociologists have been concerned to raise regarding crime and location: Does crime tend to occur in particular geographical locations? Is it for example, predominantly an urban or a rural phenomenon? Does crime tend to be concentrated in particular parts of cities, and if so, how can this be explained? How can the geographical distribution of crime be explained? Shaw and McKay Studying crime rates in the Chicago district, Shaw and McKay found a strong statistical pattern. The further one moved from the centre of the city (the central business district or CBD), the more the rate of male delinquency declined. Shaw and McKay argued that the central area was a zone of transition. This meant that it contained a large number of immigrants, of lowincome families, and a constantly shifting

population. Shaw and McKay describe this zone as being socially disorganised. By this they mean that it is an area where there are many broken families, violence, and lots of other social problems. Shaw and McKay claim that these sorts of areas have high and increasing crime rates because the population is constantly changing, and in a Link: Merton and sub cultural theory large and anonymous urban setting there is less social control. Zones continued

Link To Merton A zone of transition will lack the community spirit and the close relationships between neighbours that other areas, with less population movement, will be able to establish. Therefore, Shaw and McKay reason it offers more opportunities for crime. Shaw and McKays findings might seem to accord with common sense expectations; the further one moves out from the centre of large urban areas, the more delinquency rates fall. Moreover, we still commonly talk of leafy suburbs, and probably have a favourable image of the suburbs in contrast to the dangers involved in inner city dwelling. VS Several British sociologists have conducted research on similar lines in the UK, and have attempted to replicate and test Shaw and McKays work. Morris Croydon study 1957

Morris found that the highest rates of crime were concentrated on particular council estates in the Croydon area not in the central business district. Morris also argued that it was hard to describe these council estates as socially disorganised there was more evidence to suggest that they were tightly knit communities, where people knew neighbours quite well and with low levels of population change or turnover. If any areas could be described as socially disorganised, it would be the more middle class residential areas. In these areas people did not interact a great deal and they might have to live in them for a long time before they made significant social contacts and relationships. Baldwin and Bottoms Sheffield study 1976

This research used official statistics and aimed to test the concept of social disorganisation. Baldwin and Bottoms operationalised social disorganisation in terms of the following factors: larger numbers of immigrants, unmarried people, young adults, dwellings with 3 or less rooms, shared accommodation. The researchers categorised the city into three main areas; owner occupied accommodation, council tenants, and rented accommodation. They found significant differences between the three areas, with the latter two have the highest crime rates. The degree of social disorganisation was a factor but it was not found to be significant on council estates. Baldwin and Bottoms thus concluded that there was no evidence for Shaw and McKays arguments regarding social disorganisation, and they found no correlation between a high population turnover and crime rates.

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