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Shaw and McKay

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Shaw and McKay

In early 1900s, various sociologists used the concept of the social disorganization in explaining the occurrence and prevalence of crimes, delinquency, as well as other social issues. Social disorganization means failure of the social institutions in a specific neighborhood and the communities (Stephen, 2005). Social disorganization and transition theories have actually formed a basis in criminology. According to the Shaw and McKay’s social disorganization theory, upholds that crime normally emerges when the social institutions disintegrates which in turn break down effective social controls (Stephen, 2005).

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Shaw and McKay have linked life in transitional slum areas to the feeling of committing a crime. In their research during the early 1920s, they related the crime with the transitional context of developing urban environment (Patterson, 1988). In addition, they demonstrate   that successive changes in the population structure, breakdown of the traditional values, development of diverse cultural standards and steady industrialization normally erodes the neighborhood organization and culture (Patterson, 1988). This transitional which normally breakdown traditional institutions normally leave the children without complete sets of values which essentially make them resort to crimes. In addition, Shaw and McKay noted that those areas that are normally overwhelmed by most crime actually appear to be the transitional inner city areas, where a large percentage of the residents are normally underprivileged (Patterson, 1988).   

 The proper measure of combating crime as a result of transition is through design and effective use of the built settings, which can lead to reduction of the crime incidences and improvement of the resident’s quality of life in these areas. One of the measures is enhancing natural surveillance (Elliott, 1950). This is because it utilizes feature that aims at keeping criminals under surveillance through increased visibility of the building. In addition, it also makes deviant behavior be easily detectable by the law enforcement agents. Another measure includes enhancing natural control, which utilizes fences, doors, control-locks and alarm so as to deny criminals access (Elliott, 1950). It also increases the would-be offender individual sense of risk. Building maintenance in the community will also combat the crime; this is because maintaining the original purpose of the building normally prevents it from becoming dilapidated hence criminals are usually less attracted to residing in these areas since their identity and intention can easily be ripped off (Elliott, 1950).

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