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Social Structure and Criminal Victimization

NCJ Number
Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency Volume: 25 Issue: 1 Dated: (February 1988) Pages: 27-52
D A Smith; G R Jarjoura
Date Published
26 pages
Using victimization data from 57 neighborhoods, this article examines the relationship between neighborhood characteristics and rates of violent crime and burglary.
We argue that Shaw and McKay's social disorganization theory provides a meaningful point of departure for examining the uneven distribution of criminal victimization across social units. Measures of three central theoretical elements in Shaw and McKay's social disorganization perspective (poverty, residential mobility, and racial heterogeneity), and variables from the subculture of violence, social control, and opportunity perspectives are included in this research. Results indicate that core components of Shaw and McKay's theory are important in explaining neighborhood victimization rates, although their influence is more conditional than direct and varies by type of crime. Evidence also emerges that supports social control models of aggregate criminal activity. Additionally, we examine whether parameters of macromodels of criminal activity vary across levels of urbanization. The implications of our findings for macrotheories of criminal activity are discussed. (Author abstract)