Law enforcement and criminologists among other stake holders in the society have been progressively engaged in determining the sources and causes of crime. Various theories have been brought forward in an attempt to explain crime, more so, organized crime; as such, it is perceived that social disorganization and organized crime are inextricably intertwined. Therefore, social disorganization is inherently a disintegration and failure of social organizations and institutions in the community. These include schools, family, religious organization and the police.
Social disorganization is inherent in varied defined neighborhoods and communities, in the society. This aspect is more prevalent in urban areas; however, it can be also observed in some rural areas. In most urban areas, social disorganization is more pronounced in areas where the population is derived from varied ethnic and social background. These diverse experiences and backgrounds make it challenging for the society to behave in a cohesive where communal engagements are concerned.
Individualism is predominant, while societies concerns fail to take priority in people’s lives. Social consensus and solidarity are not present in such societies, hence creating social disintegration. In light of these facts, organized crime and social disorganization are inherently co-related. Historically, organized crime has been observed to be a consequence of social disorganization in the community. The prevalence of anarchy, individualism and varied aspects of a disorganized community leads to the reign of organized crime.
Criminal gangs emerge as a consequence of society’s inability to consolidate its efforts to resist them; they are also perpetuated through their attraction to youths. The failure of the family institution to social youths effectively has led young people to turn to criminal gangs. Organized crime has various factors that contribute towards its existence; among these is the collaboration of individuals for a defined period while executing criminal activities, for instance, the availability of readily available markets for illegal or counterfeit products.
To some extent, social disorganization meets these criteria; therefore, it inherently encourages the development of organized crime. For instance, the inadequacy of self-policing in the community enables criminals in its failure to control and prevent the formation of criminal gangs and commission of criminal acts. The integral association of individualism with social disorganization and organized crime leads to the abandonment of societal concerns in preference to pursuit of individual goals. As such, people engage in crime, such as money laundering, drug trafficking among other crimes for their own individual profit without regard for the harmful impacts on society.
When individuals disregard the wellbeing of others as a consequence of their pursuit to optimize their individual goals; this fact culminates to the development of a disorganized society characterized by long-lasting social evils, such as corruption. Hence, social evils, such as corruption, pervade the political machines within the society; organized crime finds an environment to thrive and develop. Corrupt political officials are among the significant enablers of social disorganization through their facilitation and protection towards organized criminal enterprises. Corrupt officials are inherently compromised; therefore, they lack the capacity to protect or shield the society from organized crime.
The perception of social disorganization as a precursor to organized crime is derived from extensive ecological theories. These theories argue that individual attitudes are not solely a determinant of individual personality, but it is a factor of the interaction between a person and their surrounding environment. Therefore, a person will perceive a crime as an agreeable means to an end given the prevalent economic and social conditions in the society. Therefore, the existent of conditions that encourage criminality will lead to the development of organized crime; however, if the existing conditions are not favorable to criminality, it will be significantly curtailed. In light of these, it is evident that social disorganization creates the ideal environment for the evolution and development of organized crime.