The Social Structure Theory is a theoretical concept that seeks to explain the root causes of criminal behavior in society. It suggests that crime is not a result of individual choices or personal characteristics, but rather an outcome of the social and economic structures of society. This theory proposes that factors such as poverty, inequality, and social disorganization lead to criminal behavior.

What is the Social Structure Theory?

The Social Structure Theory is based on the premise that an individual’s environment plays a significant role in shaping their behavior. According to this theory, individuals who live in impoverished neighborhoods with limited access to resources are more likely to engage in criminal activities.


One of the primary factors identified by the Social Structure Theory as a cause of crime is poverty. Poverty refers to a lack of access to resources such as food, housing, and healthcare. Individuals who live in poverty are more likely to turn towards illegal activities as a means of survival.


Inequality refers to disparities in income and wealth distribution within society. According to the Social Structure Theory, individuals who perceive themselves as being at a disadvantage compared to others are more likely to engage in criminal activities.

Social Disorganization

Social disorganization refers to the breakdown of social institutions within a community. When there is a lack of community organization and strong social networks, individuals are more likely to engage in criminal activities.


In conclusion, the Social Structure Theory provides an explanation for why individuals engage in criminal behavior. Poverty, inequality, and social disorganization are all factors that contribute towards criminal activity within society. The theory highlights the importance of addressing these underlying issues if we seek to reduce crime rates and build safer communities.