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Disorder, Crime and Community Decline (From Communities and Crime Reduction, P 48-61, 1988, Tim Hope and Margaret Shaw, eds. -- See NCJ-118256)

NCJ Number
W G Skogan
Date Published
14 pages
Recent North American research forms the basis of this review of the impact of disorder and crime on neighborhood social and economic processes.
Disorders include both visual signs of physical deterioration and behavioral evidence of social disorganization. Findings show that disorder undermines the private residential housing market through its impact on neighborhood commitment and satisfaction, the desire of residents to move away from troubled areas, and the market value of housing. Both disorder and crime erode the capacity of communities to exercise informal social control, through their impact on territoriality, intervention efforts, and the extent of self-help. Thus, people in troubled areas physically and psychologically withdraw from community life. Disorder and crime also handicap communities politically, through their negative impact on the ability of the neighborhood to organize. Research also suggests that in some circumstances the operation of private-market forces can reverse cycles of neighborhood decline. Efforts to do this by community organizations in the United States typically focus on controlling land use and population turnover. In addition, recent experiments with community policing suggest that decentralization, directed foot patrol, and other efforts to increase cooperation between police and neighborhood residents may have an impact on both disorder and the fear of crime. 55 references.


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