The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology

The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology

The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology

The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology


The subject of this book was not suddenly conceived, but rather, like Topsy, 'just growed' partly out of interest in that field of sociological inquiry which may be termed social ecology and partly out of interest in the problem of crime and delinquency in the town in which I had spent a great deal of my life. The research which is described in the latter part of this book took place during the period 1953-55 but was in fact based upon a design which had evolved slowly over the preceding years.

Because of this gradual development of the research scheme many people contributed to it, both directly and indirectly. I am most deeply indebted to Dr. Hermann Mannheim whose guidance and help has been of the greatest value to me, and to the Home Office for granting access to many of the substantive records of data. Mr. T. S. Lodge of the Statistical Division rendered me invaluable assistance and Sir Ronald Howe at New Scotland Yard kindly allowed me to analyse certain Police Records. Through the assistance of the Children's Department and the Probation Division I was able to examine the case files of delinquent and refractory children which provided the data for much of my analysis.

In Croydon I am indebted to Superintendent Giles of 'Z' Division Metropolitan Police, to Mr. Chislett, Clerk to the Justices, to the Town Clerk for regularising my contacts with departments of the Local Authority, to Mr. Stephens the Youth Organiser and to Mr. Ronald Hyder, J. P., a member of the Juvenile Panel. To Mr. Frank Hepworth the Chief Probation Officer and his staff there is a special debt for they gave most generously of their time to assist in numerous ways.

The fieldwork was made possible by the award of a Research Studentship by the London School of Economics augmented by a grant from the University of London Research Fund.

Throughout I have been fortunate to have the untiring assistance of my wife, Pauline Morris, who like so many sociologists' wives performs the task of research assistant with exemplary efficiency.

Terence Morris

London School of Economics.

May, 1957.

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