Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Cappell, Charles

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Sociology


Suburban crimes--Illinois--Chicago Suburban Area; Crime--Sociological aspects--Illinois--Chicago Suburban Area; Chicago Suburban Area (Ill.)--Social conditions


This thesis researched suburban community crime as a function of a variety of community characteristics. The units of analysis within the study are suburban communities surrounding Chicago, based on the years 1980 and 1990. The data has been compiled from the F B I. Uniform Crime Reports and United States census data. A series of statistical models are estimated to determine those community characteristics most strongly affecting community crime, including cross-sectional models, change models, and structural equation models. There were several hypotheses stated at the beginning of the study, the first was to apply an urban theory of crime to a suburban sample. The second determined those community characteristics most strongly affecting community crime rates and finally to evaluate the role of racial composition in determining community crime rates. Several conclusions can be drawn from the findings in this study. Social disorganization proved to be an adequate theory of suburban community crime, expanding its applicability beyond the urban setting. Within suburban communities the percentage of divorced residents within the community was a strong predictor of community crime rates. Also, the effect that the percentage of blacks in the community has on crime rates was greatly reduced or eliminated by controlling for other community characteristics. Finally, there was a serendipitous finding that supported the "white flight" argument, demonstrated by the negative relationship found between population size and community crime rates.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [88]-89).


vi, 96 pages




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