Neighborhood Disorganization scale

The Neighborhood Disorganization Scale is a tool used to measure the level of social disorganization in a particular neighborhood. It is based on the idea that neighborhoods with high levels of social disorganization are more likely to experience higher levels of crime, poverty, and other social problems. The scale consists of a set of questions that measure the presence of physical disorder, social disorder, and economic deprivation in a given neighborhood. The questions are designed to measure the level of physical disorder (such as graffiti, litter, and abandoned buildings), social disorder (such as drug dealing, gang activity, and public drunkenness), and economic deprivation (such as poverty and unemployment). The scale is designed to provide an overall measure of the level of social disorganization in a particular neighborhood. The scale can be used to compare different neighborhoods and to identify areas that may be in need of intervention.

Thinking of your neighborhood‚ how much of a problem is …
1. High unemployment?
2. Different racial or cultural groups who do not get along with each other?
3. Vandalism‚ buildings and personal belongings broken and torn up?
4. Little respect for rules‚ laws and authority?
5. Winos and junkies?
6. Prostitution?
7. Abandoned houses or buildings?
8. Sexual assaults or rapes?
9. Burglaries and thefts?
10. Gambling?
11. Run down and poorly kept buildings and yards?
12. Syndicate‚ mafia or organized crime?
13. Assaults and muggings?
14. Street gangs or delinquent gangs?
15. Homeless street people?
16. Drug use or drug dealing in the open?
17. Buying or selling stolen goods?
  • Crime
  • neighborhood
This instrument can be found on pages 344-345 of Measuring Violence-Related Attitudes‚ Behaviors‚ and Influences Among Youths: A Compendium of Assessment Tools‚ available online at:
Point values are assigned as follows:
A big problem=3‚ Sort of a problem=2‚ Not a problem=1
 Point values are summed and then divided by the number of items. The intended range of scores is 1-3‚ with a higher score indicating a higher level of neighborhood crime‚ dilapidation and disorganization.

Thornberry TP‚ Krohn MD‚ Lizotte AJ‚ Smith CA‚ Tobin K. Gangs and delinquency in developmentalperspective. New York: Cambridge University Press‚2003.