“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