Criminologists agree that crime has its roots at the level of the local neighborhood, but many criticize social disorganization theory for its fairly narrow view of the community dynamics related to crime. In Neighborhoods and Crime, Robert J. Bursik, Jr. and Harold G. Grasmick argue that social disorganization theory has ignored the broader political, social, and economic dynamics of the urban systems in which neighborhoods are imbedded. They propose that such omissions can be addressed by reformulating the disorganization model within a broad, systemic approach to neighborhood structure. In particular, they maintain that a full understanding of urban crime is impossible without consideration of the ability of neighborhoods to exert local control by mobilizing the potential resources available through networks of community residents, schools, churches, and institutions and agencies located outside of the neighborhood.
On the basis of their own rigorous research and an extensive review of the literature, Bursik and Grasmick present compelling evidence that this broader orientation can synthesize and integrate the sometimes contradictory findings that have characterized not only the studies of neighborhood rates of criminal behavior but also studies of victimization, the fear of crime, and gang related activities. In addition, the authors highlight the clear implications of the systemic approach for the design of effective crime-control programs. For instance, in neighborhoods without other effective community groups, Bursik and Grasmick conclude that gangs may form the core of an effective community-based crime-control program. Only a broad, systemic neighborhood approach to crime control will explain or reduce criminal activity.
Chapter 1 Table of Contents Chapter 2 Preface Chapter 3 1 Basic Issues Chapter 4 2 The Criminal Behavior of Neighborhood Residents Chapter 5 3 Neighborhood Opportunities for Criminal Behavior Chapter 6 4 Neighborhood Dynamics and the Fear of Crime Chapter 7 5 The Neighborhood Context of Gang Behavior Chapter 8 6 Neighborhood-Based Responses to Crime: Policy Issues Chapter 9 Epilogue Chapter 10 Notes Chapter 11 References Chapter 12 Acknowledgments Chapter 13 Index Chapter 14 About the Author