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Social Disorganization and Crime in Rural Communities: The First Direct Test of the Systemic Model

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 53 Issue: 5 Dated: September 2013 Pages: 905-923
Maria T. Kaylen; William Alex Pridemore
Date Published
September 2013
19 pages
This study examines the empirical literature on rural social disorganization and crime.
While there is considerable empirical evidence that social disorganization is positively associated with crime rates in urban areas, the empirical literature on rural social disorganization and crime faces three crucial limitations: inconsistent results, reliance on official crime statistics and the failure to test the full model. We overcome the two latter limitations via the British Crime Survey. Using data from respondents living in rural areas of 318 postcode sectors, the authors employed weighted least squares regression to estimate the effects of (1) the exogenous sources of social disorganization on the authors intervening measures of community organization and (2) all variables on victimization rates. This represents the first test of the full social disorganization model in the literature on rural crime and the authors find very little support for it. The results suggest a reassessment of the conclusions drawn about how social disorganization and crime are related in rural communities. (Published Abstract)