All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Shelley McGrath

Advisory Committee Members

John H Copes

Adrienne Milner

Document Type

Thesis

Date of Award

2015

Degree Name by School

Master of Science (MS) College of Arts and Sciences

Abstract

The United States has the highest rates of homicide among industrialized nations. The analysis of variations in the homicide rate lends itself to interpretation through various theoretical frameworks, one of which is social disorganization. Social disorganization is commonly used as a means to discuss crime in the context of neighborhoods and communities. The argument of social disorganization is that criminal activity is curbed by collective efficacy. That collective efficacy is affected by structural variables such as poverty, residential stability, and heterogeneity. The question then became whether social disorganization could be utilized for county-level analysis. The results showed that social disorganization was partly supported through significant relationships between homicide rates and counties with African-American residency, though this was less so when other variables were taken into consideration. Overall, social disorganization could not be used as an effective means of analysis for discussing homicide in the context of social disorganization.

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