There has always been a debate by criminologists and other social scientists as to what causes people in the society to deviate from the social and group norms regarding their criminal behavior. As a result, sociologists have developed several social structure theories, in an attempt to link between social economic behavior patterns, and other social factors. For many years, mapping of delinquency and held that delinquency is majorly caused by environmental factors. These early researches were referred to as Cartographic School, which revolved around environmental explanation of criminality in the society. However, the absence of control over the traditional institutions led to the introduction of social change, which was referred to as the social disorganization. Social disorganization theory therefore arose from these social structure theories. The theory holds that crime occurs when the social mechanisms of criminal control in the society are weakened.
Definition of the Theory
The theory of social disorganization can be defined as the reduction of the existing social rules influence to the behavior of the members of a certain group. It refers to the inability of the society to realize their core values and solve their residents’ problems, which results from the efficient social control within the society. According to Sampson (2002), the theory of social disorganization is considered one of the most important theory related to the ecological theory, which was developed by the Chicago School. It established a link between rates of crimes and characteristics of ecological neighborhood. It was built on the key principle, which advocated that place has a significant defect on crime and delinquency rates in the society. It implies that the residential location of a person has a significant effect in determination whether the person concerned will be involved in legal activities.
Inferring from Warner and Pierce (2007), among the factors, which determine a person’s future involvement in illegal activities, the social and residential location is more significant, as compared to the characteristics of the individual. In this case, the individual characteristics involve factors like gender, age, and race. On the other part, residential and social locations refer to social background, economic and religious conditions. For instance, Veysey and Messner (2012) noted that the young people from disadvantaged and poor families participate in sub-cultural activities, which in turn approve delinquency. As a result, these young people develop criminal behavior from their cultural and social setting (Rose and lear, 2004).
As discussed by Sampson and Groves (2009), criminal activities are majorly because of unfavorable living conditions, within certain communities. The theory further suggests that many ecological factors have a great potential of causing high crime rates in the associated communities. Some of these factors are connected to the elevated levels of deteriorating infrastructure, high school dropout rates, and single parented homes. However, the theory does not apply to all types of crimes. Its major focus is the street crime performed at the neighborhood levels. Further, the theory has not been used to the explanation of the corporate crime, organized crime or any sort of deviant behavior, which may occur outside the settings of neighborhood.