Relevance to Social Disorganization Theory

This theoretical framework is relevant to the analysis of the influence of mobility on the increasing crime rates. Findings revealed that a very small percentage of criminal activities resulted from mobility. The findings also showed that China did not experience significant international immigration as the floating population mostly comprised Chinese citizens shifting from one city to another or from the rural to urban areas. This means that the selected group or target population for the study came from localities with low criminal conduct. As a result, they did not have significant contribution on the urban crime rates. The overall conclusion may be that majority of China’s local residents are free from unlawful activities.

Shaw and McKay (1942) utilized systematic criminal behavior theory by Sutherland. They argued that delinquency was not an individual level conduct and that it was simply a normal reaction to abnormal situations. In a community where outside policing agencies have imperfections, there is a likelihood that a number of people will utilize the unconstrained freedom to show their desires and dispositions. The outcome of such act is delinquent behavior. Using a concentric zone model, the duo established a diachronic assessment to illustrate that delinquency had become dispersed in urban centers. The extremely wealthy and essential groups already left to stay away from the prevailing social disorganization.

The hypothesis, concepts and research approach of Shaw and McKay thus have strong impact on the examination of delinquency and crime. To measure the delinquency levels, this model considered arrests, number of court appearances and adjudications of institutional commitment by the court. On the other hand, they work with independent variables such as population turnover, heterogeneity of ethnic groups and economic conditions. For effectiveness of study practices, the places where delinquents live is targeted.

The study should also cover time frames that can adequately reveal dependable patterns of immigrant movements. This way, it will be possible to determine if delinquency results from the specified immigrant groups or the environment which such immigrants occupy. In case the delinquency levels of immigrant groups maintained a high rate in the duration of their migration, this factor could be inked to the individuals’ cultural or distinctive constitutional characteristics. However, a decline is noted in delinquency rates at the time immigrants pass through various ecological settings, the factor is not responsible the given constitution of immigrants. In such cases, the role of the environment is considered.

In this model, Shaw and McKay illustrated the endemic nature of social organization in urbanized regions. Such were the only areas where the poor that entered the cities for the first time lived. These regions experienced increased population turnover or residential instability and comprised individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds (labelled as ethnic diversity). Shaw and McKay thus established structural features to demonstrate the relationship between crime and delinquency. Highest delinquency levels have usually been recorded in inner-city points and a progressive decline noted as study areas move far from the city centers.

In their study, Porter, Capellan and Chintakrindi (2015, p.1180) described social disorganization theory as the most applicable in ecological investigations of criminal offending. Its effectiveness rests on the coverage of criminal offending variations and delinquency, which are tracked through space and time to estimate institutional disintegration. The theory looks into the structural elements that may trigger crime, mediating procedures, and feedback techniques that might explain the nature (nonrandom) spread of crime in a place. The targeted institutions are responsible for the development of orderly and cooperative relations within the local community. Porter and colleagues also noted that the theoretical framework had its negative side. Critics have argued that the theory is not appropriate for explaining variations in crime. One critic (Cohen) argued that social disorganization theory relates crime incidents to the lack of constraints (Porter et al. 2015. P.1182). Although higher crime rates may be caused by weak bonds among local groups, the theory ignores areas such as impulsivity and fails to fully address agency in handling of the variations.

Porter et al. spotted similarity between Cohen’s argument and that of Robert Merton. Both believed that mechanisms for social regulation placed pressure on given individuals likely to become delinquent or engage in criminal acts. Some criticisms stem from the centric definition of “organization.” The explanation is that each of the areas with high crime rates also have extensive group of local groups that do not support the conducts that are associated with social disorganization. Despite the criticisms, Porter et al. maintained that this theoretical model offers meaningful ecological elaboration on crime differences and is historically recognized for this role. They, however, agreed that methodological and conceptual approaches regarded in application of the framework required improving.

Wickes (2017) examined the use of social disorganization theory in selection of crime prevention strategies through Chicago Area Project and related programs. The study analyzed the usefulness of social disorganization theory to determine the distribution of social problems (crime) in specific forms of neighborhoods. Wickes argued that contemporary neighborhoods offer conducive environment for criminal activities. In particular, the author concentrated inhabitants that were disadvantaged, stayed in places characterized by ethical diversity, and the residentially mobile.

These groups were described as those that lack control over unwanted behaviors, such a criminal activities. Wickes’ main purpose was to describe utilization of social disorganization theory in formulation of programs that enhance the ability of local individuals to fight crime. Wickes concluded that social disorganization theory had particular limitations. In particular, the framework did not provide proper guidelines on community engagement and ways of maintaining a focus on crime prevention mindset among community members.  

Another researcher, Boyd (2020, p.2785), applied social disorganization theory to in an explanatory correlational investigation of impact of structural factors of neighborhood on violent crime levels among communities of New York City. Based on the theoretical model, the study targeted racial heterogeneity, the disadvantaged (economically), mobility, and educational attainment levels. The study comprised correlation and multiple regression of a sample of 59 districts with New York City. The focus was on the violent crime level of 2017. Findings showed that economic status and mobility had effect on violent crimes in the city. On the other hand, racial heterogeneity as well as educational attainment lacked influence on crime. The study concluded that poverty reduction initiatives should concentrate on communities with higher rate of crimes.