The Criminal Area: A Study in Social Ecology

By Terence Morris | Go to book overview

VII
DELINQUENCY AREAS IN CROYDON

T HE writer's reasons for selecting Croydon 1 as an area for study were several. In the first place the vast proportion of ecological studies dealing with the problem of crime and delinquency are confined to the United States; furthermore they relate very largely to the situation in large industrialised cities. Implicit in many of these studies, however, is the idea that certain propositions about the relationship between criminal or other forms of socially deviant behaviour and the ecological environment are likely to be valid for urban settlements in other parts of the world. A large British town with special sub urban as well as urban characteristics seemed a reasonable area for testing some of these propositions. In the second place it had been suggested in Young Offenders2 that there was a need for some kind of ecological study in the London area:

'The limitations of the control method must be recognised. While...we may hope to find out whether there are significant differences...in respect, let us say, of the structure of the family, e.g., "broken" or "normal", we cannot expect to throw much light on such a question as the possible effect of the lack of paying fields and open spaces on delinquency, for all those attending a school generally...enjoy or endure the same topographical environment.3

____________________
1
It is perhaps a departure from sociological tradition to refer to a town which has been studied by its own name, but anonymity in this instance would have been short-lived and might even have resulted in some distortion of the data. On the other hand, the material has been arranged in such a way that personal confidences have been respected and individual streets and families cannot be recognised.
2
Carr-Saunders, Mannheim and Rhodes, see above, p. 101.
3
Ibid., p. 148.

-107-

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