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45 J. Crim. L. Criminology & Police Sci. 565 (1954-1955)
Urban Homicide in Theory and Fact

handle is hein.journals/jclc45 and id is 575 raw text is: URBAN HOMICIDE IN THEORY AND FACT

The author is Professor of Sociology and Chairman of Graduate Research in Texas
Southern University. He is a member of the Mayor's Commission on Crime and De-
linquency for the City of Houston, Texas.
Among his earlier publications are: Spatial Aspects of the Differential Birth Rate,
AmER. oUI, OF SocIoL. 49, September, 1943, 149-155. Comparison of the Academic
Achievements of White and Negro High School Graduates, JouR. Enuc. REs., November,
1950, 179-193. Racial Atliudes and the Employment of Negroes, AmER. Joun. or SocIoL.,
January 1951.-EDiTOR.
This study is designed to supply the factual basis of a theory which, we hope, will
explain the systematic connection between homicides and the places where they
occur. An interest in developing a purely descriptive account of the incidence of
criminal homicides in a large metropolis has motivated the accumulation of the facts
in the first instance. However, we soon observed phenomena which are not adequately
explained by existing criminological theories. It is for this reason that we have sought
to develop a more satisfactory theory.
It has been well established in criminological literature that crime lives best in the
disorganized areas of cities. Some of the researches supporting this conclusion have
been mainly concerned with the spatial patterns made by crime rates when cast
upon city maps. Others have sought to suggest causal relations between crime and
select socio-economic variables of census tracts or sub-communities of large cities0
Both types of researches, dealing mainly with delinquents, define the kind of area
in which general forms of criminal behavior tend most to occur by developing a
static picture of relationship between crime and characteristics of the areas. There-
fore, neither presents a theoretical scheme that promises to explain the manner in
which criminal areas are dynamically connected with criminal conduct. Cavan, after
a rather complete summary of these works, makes note of the fact that areal studies
merely show delinquency and social disintegration to exist in the same communities3
If we are to move from the static interpretation of co-existing phenomena to the
more dynamic interpretation of a social process, it may be essential that we study
the relationship between a specific type of crime and the places where it occurs rather
' With Lois I. Mitchell as research assistant.
2See: Cmr.omD R. SnAw, DELNQuENcy AREAS (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1929);
University of Chicago Press, 1942); E. LONG OR, E. ScHNEIDER, AND E. F. YouNG, Ecological
Interrdationship of Juvenile Delinquency, Dependency, and Popdation Mobility: A Cartographic
Analysis of Data from Long Beach, California, AmER. J. or SocIoL. XLI, (March, 1936) 598-610;
ERNEsr MowRER, DISoRGANmzATioN, PERSONAL AND SociAL (New York: J. B. Lippincott, 1942).
3RuTn SHoNLE CAVAN, CRMINOLOGY (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1950), pp.
54-74: 342.

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