Neighborhood Ties, Control, and Crime

Barbara D. Warner and Audrey C. Clubb

in The Oxford Handbook of Criminological Theory

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199747238
Published online December 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

Neighborhood Ties, Control, and Crime

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  • Criminology and Criminal Justice
  • Theories of Crime



Since E. A. Ross's ([1901] 1929) seminal work at the beginning of the twentieth century, social control has emerged as a central concept in American sociology. Recent research indicates that neighborhoods with high levels of informal social control have lower crime rates. This article reviews findings on the role of neighborhood social ties in providing informal social control and preventing crime, both theoretically and empirically. It discusses the important gaps in knowledge that are considered crucial in better understanding the role played by social ties in social control and crime prevention. The article first describes Clifford R. Shaw and Henry D. McKay's social disorganization theory and its extension, the systemic model of social disorganization. It then emphasizes the need to distinguish social disorganization theory from deterrence theory, highlighting the implications for models of justice and identifying areas for future research.

Keywords: informal social control; crime; neighborhoods; crime prevention; social ties; Clifford R. Shaw; Henry D. McKay; social disorganization theory; deterrence theory; justice

Article.  8745 words. 

Subjects: Criminology and Criminal Justice ; Theories of Crime

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