Volume 20, Issue 76 (4-2020)                   refahj 2020, 20(76): 271-312 | Back to browse issues page

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Khezri F, Ejtehadi M, Qaderi S. A Case Study of the Crime-ridden Neighborhood: Structures, Processes, and Mechanisms of Crime Occurrence in the Harandi Neighborhood of Tehran. refahj. 2020; 20 (76) :271-312
URL: http://refahj.uswr.ac.ir/article-1-3492-en.html
Abstract:   (873 Views)
Extended Abstract
Introduction: Today cities are the main place of human life in the world. In addition to creating opportunities, they have confronted modern human beings with numerous threats. In many metropolises, quantitative growth has surpassed the quality of people’s lives. This has made an increasing number of social problems in general, and resulted in the emergence of crimes in particular. In developing societies such as Iran and a metropolis like Tehran, being in connection with the modern world and implementation of modernization programs from above by the government cause a variety of disorders, reflecting the emergence of social disruption and a major source of crime. Tehran has become the most important crime scene with increasing population, residential segregation, poverty, and deterioration in some of its urban neighborhoods. Crimes are not distributed equally among urban neighborhoods, but in some urban neighborhoods they are more likely to occur; therefore, the crimes are likely to have higher rates. Evidences show that the Harandi neighborhood of Tehran is one of these crime-ridden neighborhoods, with various forms of crimes occurring significantly in the neighborhood. The question that arises here is what are the causal factors at the level of the Harandi neighborhood that have led to this neighborhood being crime-ridden? Therefore, with regard to the problem and question posed, the purpose of this study is to investigate the production and reproduction cycle of crime occurrence in Harandi neighborhood i.e., to investigate the causal factors, processes, and mechanisms related to this phenomenon with respect to neighborhood characteristics.
Method: In this study, the research method is case study. One of the advantages of the case study is the possibility to use different sources of data collection and production such as qualitative and quantitative. In this study also uses texts, archival reports, survey, interviews and direct observation to study the topic. First, secondary data from the Statistics Center is used to examine some of the structural characteristics of the neighborhood, such as poverty and residential instability. Second, a survey was used to investigate some of the causal factors such as ethnic heterogeneity, social relationships, cultural power, disorder, legal cynicism, collective efficacy and socialization and the output of the neighborhood namely crime. Third, documents and research in this area have been used to understand more of the factors that influence neighborhood crimes. Finally, using participatory observation technique and observation guide some other data is collected to understand causal factors and mechanisms.
Findings: Findings show that at the level of structural characteristics of the neighborhood, the patterns of land use in neighborhood are mixed that has attracted a large number of visitors from some other neighborhoods. In these sections, various forms of crime such as drug dealing, public use of drugs, assault, pickpocketing and the sale of stolen goods occur. In these sections, the supervision and control exercised by the owners of the shops are eliminated at night when the shops are closed and these sections become the place of criminals. Unlike commercial section of neighborhoods that suffer from overcrowding, these parts suffer from a lot of loneliness or lack of “street light eyes”. The neighborhood is also disturbed by some demographic characteristics such as population density in some areas, large number of visitors per day, demographic changes and migration over the past few decades, population displacement, and unbalanced sex ratio. These demographic characteristics have disrupted social relations, residents’ perceptions of values, and anonymity in the neighborhood. Residential instability is also high in the neighborhood. Residential instability in the neighborhood has led to demographic shifts, weakening and disrupting relationships and social networks (social capital), reinforcing anonymity, lack of attachment to neighborhoods and investment, weakening the power of culture, and ultimately disrupting neighborhood collective efficacy. Ethnic heterogeneity along with disruption of social relations in the neighborhood has led to ethnic conflicts and some crimes such as burglary and assaults among groups with different ethnic backgrounds. Poverty has also made residents do not do investments in the neighborhood. Poverty has also made residents unable to take the usual measures to provide security. Evidences showed that the level of social relations in the neighborhood was lower than average and there were intra-group relationships among neighborhood ethnicities. Disruption of social relationships in addition to weakening neighborhood collective efficacy, helped to foster crime through other pathways such as increased fear of crime, undermined civic participation, warm and positive social life, and legal cynicism. It has also been found that the power of culture in the neighborhood has become so weak that residents no longer understand other residents’ adherence to neighborhood values. There have been significant forms of different disorders in the neighborhood. Such disorders can be a sign that no one cares about the neighborhood, and it can lead to fear of crime, retreat from public spaces, disruption of social control, and many more serious crimes. Legal cynicism is also high in the neighborhood. As the neighborhood residents pointed out, the police do not take necessary actions as regards the safety of the neighborhood, and in some cases the corrupt ones cooperate with the drug dealers. These conditions have made residents lose their trust towards law enforcement agencies to maintain order in the neighborhood, and in some cases have taken steps to maintain their security that has led to the production of violence in the neighborhood. There is a disturbance in the socialization of some residents in the neighborhood as well. This is also due to deprivation of families, disruption of family structure and functioning, and lack of care and supervision over children’s behavior made some children and adolescents grow up in public and semipublic settings and even in some cases they are abused. Finally, evidence suggests that the level of collective efficacy in the neighborhood is lower than average and is associated with public order, violence, and financial crime. The structural characteristics of the neighborhood, social relationships, cultural power, and neighborhood order (disorder) were significantly disrupted. This circumstance has created a lack of trust and confidence among the residents to fight against crime and even they do not seek help from official institutions. The structural characteristics of the neighborhood not only cause social disorganization of the neighborhood and lack of collective efficiency but also undermine the self-regulatory capacity of the neighborhood. Neighborhood self-regulation capacity is more than just crime-fighting action. For example, when neighborhoods migrate, they leave their homes for insecurity, and do, not renovate dilapidated homes and rent them to lower-income community workers or foreigners, or the lack of willingness on the part of the residents to do investments in the neighborhood provided grounds for crime. Crime in a self-reinforcing cycle through weakening social capital, collective efficiency, and increased fear of crime has caused more crimes to happen in the neighborhood.
Discussion: Structural characteristics of the neighborhood such as poverty, residential instability, ethnical heterogeneity, population density, mixed patterns to apply for land and disrupted appearance by weakening social relationships, the power of culture, increasing disorders, shaping the framework of legal cynicism, disrupting socialization, weakening collective efficacy, and self-regulatory capacity have made the Harandi neighborhood become crime-ridden. Crime has also weakened the collective efficiency of the neighborhood by increasing fear and undermining collective life.
Ethical considerations
Funds
This article is part of Dr. Farshid Khezri’s dissertation entitled “Study of Factors Affecting Crime in the Neighborhood: A Study of Neighborhoods in Tehran” in the Department of Sociology at the Faculty of Literature and Humanities of Shahid Beheshti University under the guidance of Dr. Mostafa Ejtehadi and Dr. Salahuddin Ghaderi.
Contribution of authors
All authors have contributed to the design, execution and writing of all sections of this article.
Conflict of interest
According to the authors, there is no conflict of interest in this article.
Adherence to the principles of research ethics
The authors have observed all the ethical points of the research in this article, including informed consent and not harming the participants.
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Type of Study: orginal |
Received: 2019/09/22 | Accepted: 2020/06/23 | Published: 2020/10/6

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