Cover image for Disorder and decline : crime and the spiral of decay in American neighborhoods
Disorder and decline : crime and the spiral of decay in American neighborhoods
Skogan, Wesley G.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Free Press ; Toronto : Colleir Macmillan Canada, [1990]

Physical Description:
ix, 218 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV6791 .S57 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Disorder and Decline documents the relationship between disorder and neighborhood decline, but provides a cogent analysis of the currently favored solutions to problems such as community policing and citizen self help.This book also discusses the implications of disorder and analyses experimental efforts undertaken to confront it in several American cities.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

Skogan, Northwestern University professor of political science and urban affairs, defines disorder as those elements of urban life which merely border on crime or constitute crimes so minor that police tend to disregard them: public drinking, vandalism, littering, verbal harassment of passersby, panhandling and prostitution. In addition to these are sundry physical disorders, such as abandoned housing, ill-kept buildings, broken streetlights and garbage-filled lots and alleys. Perhaps minor in themselves, such disorders, the author claims, can and do spur serious crimes. Skogan details efforts to counter or reduce disorder in Houston, Newark, Chicago and Minneapolis, particularly through the use of so-called community policing, which has met with some small success. His book, though of interest to public officials and police brass, is closer to a sociology textbook than a work for general readers. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Progressive police departments are adding to their crime-fighting, call-answering 911 functions an emphasis on problem-oriented community policing. They help to organize communities to deal with problems of housing, health, social service, disorganization, and disorder in general. Skogan summarizes five studies of disorder and community decline and concludes that there is no quick fix for disorder in urban neighborhoods. While Skogan's findings are generally disappointing, his book is not. Skogan is known in the field for his previous studies of crime and the urban environment, and this book will add to his reputation. Anyone interested in improving police-citizen relations and developing programs to control urban disorder will find insights here. --John Broderick, Stone hill Coll., North Easton, Mass. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Skogan reports on a study focused on disorder and decline, which was carried out in 40 inner-city neighborhoods in six cities. His methodology is excellent and the data collected are impressive. Both the findings and their interpretations hold few surprises for scholars of urban studies, but the information is fresh and up-to-date and the book should be required reading for those who wish to keep abreast of literature on urban neighborhood analysis. In brief, Skogan finds that the more affluent and homogeneous a neighborhood, the easier it is to maintain social order. The definition of order varies by class, race, ethnic group. Police are not a good vehicle for maintaining order at the neighborhood level but neighborhood organizations are no match for drug pushers who are well armed and well financed. Some programs were successful in reducing disorder but these were in neighborhoods with modest affluence and relative homogeneity. Skogan has done the field a service with this first-rate book. It is clearly written, devoid of jargon, and long on insight. All levels. -J. R. Hudson, Pennsylvania State University, Harrisburg