Barton, M. S., Jensen, B. L., & Kaufman, J. M. (2010). Social disorganization theory and the college campus. Journal of Criminal Justice, 38(3), 245-254.
Previously researchers have been associating increasing campus crime rates with various theories. Supporters of routine activities approach argue that it’s the availability of suitable targets on campuses in the form of unnecessary use of expensive items by students and majority of women on campus as suitable targets, in the presence of motivated offenders, and the lack of capable guardians in terms of weak security measures on campuses. Other researchers associate rates of crimes on campus with general social ecological approach. They explain the reasons of crimes to be specifically related to multiple factors related to the place or campus itself. While researchers believing in Social Importation theory to be the cause of campus crimes explain that it’s the set of characteristics and backgrounds that the students bring with them when they enter the college which defines the crime rates on a college campus. In other words, age factors, background cultures, social histories etc. are considered to be contributing to the crime rates on campus. The current research assessed to find how existing social disorganization model can be generalized to the college campus settings.
The authors tested four hypothesis to analyze the relationship of social structure with campus community organization, social structure with campus crime rates, campus community organization with crime rates and to find whether relationship of social structure with campus crime was facilitated by community organization or not. This study used data from Hummer (2004) and F.B.I’s uniform crime report 2000. All this data represented national sample of colleges and their respective crime rates for 2000. The sample included 160 institutions to calculate structural variable regressions and 390 institutions for community only regressions. This study calculated the effects of social structure and community organization on rates of crimes per 1000 students. The effects were calculated by aggregating index crimes divided by total campus enrolment and multiplying by 1000. The study found strong association between social composition of campus population and the crime rates. However, couldn’t clearly establish the generalizability of social disorganization theory to campus communities. This results imply that increasing social integration and enhancing social composition among student population might increase crime rates than decreasing it.