Chicago School of Thought

Chicago School of Thought

The Chicago school of thought refers to the research carried out by students from University of Chicago School of criminology where the scholars developed a theory known as social disorganization (Lilly, Cullen &Ball, 2014). The theory explained the crime rates experienced in different residential areas. One of major conclusions of the Chicago school of thought is that the society has an influence on whether an individual will end up as a criminal or not. The school of thought suggests that factors like poverty and unemployment that come from outside the individual that can make individuals lead a criminal life (Lilly, Cullen &Ball, 2014).

Lilly et al., (2014) note that the theory discussion is profound because today’s crime rates are different when we look at various neighborhoods. Taking Oklahoma City in America as our example, rape and murder crime rates have risen. Assaults and robberies have also significantly increased. The main point to note is that more than half of families who live in the area are below the poverty line. Poverty is a common cause of crimes judging from the Oklahoma City situation. Poor people with no sustainable source of income will most likely opt to join criminal gangs in the hope of meeting daily household needs.

Lewisboro is a town in New York and is among the areas with lowest crime rates (Lilly et al., 2014). Only 1.9% of people live below the poverty, a scenario that explains the low level of crime. Lilly et al., (2014) assert that to further prove the Chicago school of thought, we can look at the case of Freddie Gray a man who died while in police custody and had been arrested for various crimes. The neighbors explained to Washington that he wanted to move from his neighborhood and live a better life because most people living in the area are poor. The situation explains why he was constantly involved in criminal activities, since he never had a job.

We can conclude that there is a great relationship between the societies in which an individual is brought up. The environment creates has a significant likelihood of an individual joining crime.


Lilly, R. Cullen, T, Richard A. Ball (2014) Criminological Theory: Context and Consequences (6th edition).SAGE Publications.

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