Systemic Social Disorganization Theory -- An Empirical Test

Timothy M. Bray, University of Texas at Dallas

Working in the neighborhoods and block groups of the city of St. Louis, this paper inspects for empirical evidence supporting the tenets of systemic social disorganization theory. Specifically, this paper employs hierarchical modeling techniques to explore the effects of traditional social disorganization precursors and systemic-based predictors on homicide counts in St. Louis from 1985 through 1995. At the block group-level, the predictors include traditional measures of social disorganization contributors - socioeconomic disadvantage, residential instability, and population heterogeneity. The model also includes systemic predictors, indicative of the block group's relationship with the larger neighborhood, such as school funding and voter turnout.

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Updated 05/20/2006