“Disorder, Crime and Community Decline.” In Tim Hope and Margaret Shaw (eds.)
Communities and Crime Reduction. London: HMSO, 1988.
This chapter reviews recent North American research on the relationship between crime and
disorder and the social and economic forces which underlie stability or change in private-
market residential communities. Its focus on crime is familiar; perhaps more unusual is the
attention given to the role of disorder in stimulating neighborhood decline. Communities are
troubled when they cannot realize their values with regard to public behavior. Some of those
values clearly are protected by the criminal law and fall within the purview of routine police
operations. Other widely approved standards of conduct are not so clearly supported by
statute, and many more seem to present intractable enforcement problems despite their
unlawful status. But those legal and operational distinctions have little to do with the impact of
these problems upon community life, which appears to be considerable.
Disorder and Crime