Document Type

Dissertation - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department / School

Rural Sociology


This analysis is an application of social disorganization theory for understanding variations in county crime rates. Grounded heavily in the work of Park and Burgess and Shaw and McKay, this theory examines the relationships between socioecological factors of counties and their Index I crime rates. The relationships are tested using a cross-sectional research design that employs secondary data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of the Census. The results of those tests reveal that a social disorganization theory of crime is applicable to county level analysis. Of the social disorganization factors, family disruption and net-migration were the most important. The analysis also reveals that further research should explore in more detail the impacts that alcohol consumption, percent male, and the police/citizen ratio have on county crime rates.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Crime -- Minnesota -- Analysis Crime -- Wisconsin -- Analysis Crime -- Michigan -- Analysis



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University