Social Disorganization Theory

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Social Disorganization Theory (SDT): Does it explain Chicago homicide?
The increase of homicide rate in Chicago in the mid-1990s despite the downward trend of violent crime rates nationwide (Horton, 2002) has been a prominent focus of several criminological investigations. Given Chicago’s consistent high homicide rate in the past decade, particularly reaching its peak in 2008 with 513 murders and 2012 with 506 murders, the homicide phenomenon in Chicago undoubtedly remains a major subject of the discourse in the field of criminology and criminal justice. Particularly alarming is that in 13 days from the beginning of the year, as of January13, 2013, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) has already reported 21 murders. Although it shows 9% decrease compared to 23 murders in 2012, it reflects
50% increase compared to the 14 murders in 2011 for the same time period. Is the situation in
Chicago indicative of a socially disorganized community?
It is noteworthy that majority or at least 70% of said homicide incidence involved Black victims and offenders. Walker, Spohn, and Delone (2012) argue that the high involvement of
Black people in the criminal justice system can be explained by discrimination and structural inequalities in the American society. The community structural factors and other social factors as they relate to crime serve as the common theme in the readings subject of this critique. Most specifically, this critique examines Sampson and Groves’ (1989) research testing Shaw and
McKay’s Social Disorganization Theory (SDT); Ellen and O’regan’s (2009) study on the patterns and implications of crime in the U.S. cities; Walker, Spohn, and Delone’s (2012) discussion on race, ethnicity, social structure and crime; and Reiman and Leighton’s (2013) review of crime control in America. Further, the analysis of said readings is applied in the…...

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