Say NOPE to Social Disorganization Criminology: The Importance of Creators in Neighborhood Social Control

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Despite decades of research into social disorganization theory, criminologists have made little progress developing community programs that reduce crime. The lack of progress is due in part to faulty assumptions in the theory: that neighborhoods are important; that residents are the primary source of control; and that informal social controls are emergent. In this paper we propose an alternative: the neighborhoods out of places explanation (NOPE). NOPE starts with property parcels (i.e., proprietary places), rather than neighborhoods. It focuses on the power and legal authority of people and institutions that own property, rather than on residents. It posits that control is intentional and goal driven, rather than emergent. We refer to those who own and control as creators. This small group of elites shape city areas and residents must adapt to the environments that suppress or facilitate crime. We discuss how shifting our focus to creators provides important new implications for theory, research, and policy in criminology.
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