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22 J. Res. Crime & Delinquency 3 (1985)

handle is hein.journals/jrcd22 and id is 1 raw text is: 


                               EDITOR'S COMMENTS



   In the November 1984 issue of the Journal of Research in Crime and
Delinquency, Bernard suggested that criminologists tend to close off old
areas of research as new ones open up, rather than fully exploring each.
As an example, he argues that strain theories of delinquency-those that
explain delinquent behavior in terms of the clash between aspirations
and ability to achieve them-seem  to be one such area that has been
prematurely closed off.
   Sampson's  lead article in this edition of the Journal of Research in
Crime  and Delinquency  demonstrates  that interest in strain theories
has not evaporated entirely. He examines the effect of neighborhood
characteristics on rates of personal victimization through the use of
National Crime Survey data. Specifically, he tests various contemporary
explanations of crime, particularly those relating to urban violent crime.
Sampson   chose, for example, a study by Blau and  Blau that found
income  equality to be a primary determinant of variation in rates of
urban violent crime-a finding typically advanced as supporting strain
theorists. Another study is by Crutchfield et al., who found that such
important dimensions  as community social integration play an impor-
tant role in explaining the rates of crime. These types of relationships, of
course, are typically associated with so-called control theories.
   Sampson  undertakes  to study the independent effects of poverty,
equality, racial composition, mobility, structural density, and family
structure on  rates of personal victimization. He finds that social
integration factors (family structure, mobility) and structural density
generally have the strongest effects on personal crime victimization; he
concludes that although economic and racial factors cannot be ignored,
their influence is limited, and perhaps not as ubiquitous as traditional
crimonological theory would  have us believe. However, at the end he
leaves a suggestion that there is room  for varying interpretations
regarding the role of inequality and racial composition. Thus, although
Sampson's  study lends further credence to control theories, it continues
to open the possibility that theories dealing with inequality may still
have significant bearing on delinquency. We are left with the inevitable
conclusion that further refinement of theoretical constructs is needed
before we can more fully account for the variety of behavior described as
delinquent.


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from the SAGE Social Science Collections. All Rights Reserved.

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