What Theory Argues That the Causes of Crime Are Located in the Social?

In the field of criminology, there are numerous theories that attempt to explain why individuals engage in criminal behavior. One prominent theory argues that the causes of crime are located in the social environment. This theory, known as social disorganization theory, posits that crime rates are influenced by certain social factors within a community or neighborhood.

Social Disorganization Theory

Social disorganization theory was first developed by sociologists at the University of Chicago in the early 20th century. It suggests that crime is not solely a result of individual characteristics or psychological factors but is instead shaped by the social and physical conditions of a particular area.

Social Factors

According to this theory, several key social factors contribute to high crime rates. These include:

Physical Factors

In addition to social factors, social disorganization theory also emphasizes certain physical characteristics of an area that may contribute to crime rates:


Social disorganization theory has important implications for crime prevention and intervention strategies. By understanding the social and physical factors that contribute to crime, policymakers and communities can work together to address these issues and create safer environments.

Community-Based Interventions:

One approach based on social disorganization theory involves implementing community-based interventions. These initiatives focus on improving the social fabric of a neighborhood by fostering stronger social ties, enhancing communication, and promoting community involvement. By strengthening informal social control mechanisms, community-based interventions aim to reduce crime rates over the long term.

Urban Planning:

Social disorganization theory also highlights the importance of urban planning in reducing crime. Creating well-maintained public spaces, improving infrastructure, and promoting mixed-income housing can help foster a sense of community pride and ownership, ultimately deterring criminal activity.

In conclusion,

Social disorganization theory argues that the causes of crime are not solely attributable to individual factors but are deeply rooted in the social environment. By addressing poverty, residential instability, population density, deteriorated infrastructure, and lack of social control, communities can take proactive steps towards reducing crime rates and creating safer neighborhoods for all residents.