Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Criminal Justice

First Committee Member

Timothy C. Hart

Second Committee Member

Tamara Madensen

Third Committee Member

Terance Miethe

Fourth Committee Member

Anna Lukemeyer

Number of Pages



While the theory of social disorganization has been refined through research and critique, data and methods used to measure key concepts related to the theory have largely remained the same. This study examines the extent to which resident perceptions of neighborhoods are reflected similarly in official data provided by the U.S. Census, in terms of both neighborhood boundaries and neighborhood conditions. It consists of a combination of respondent-identified data and official data gathered on neighborhoods, their condition, and crime. Comparisons between perceptual indicators of neighborhood boundary and characteristics and corresponding official data at the block, block group, and Census tracts are made. Path models of social disorganization are also developed, using both perceptual and official data collected in 2010 among Las Vegas, Nevada residents. Results demonstrate whether perceptual models that predict crime and delinquency outperform traditional models of social disorganization. This exploratory research has the potential of affecting the way social disorganization-related research is conducted in the future, by providing reasonable evidence for the need of alternative measures of neighborhood and its conditions.


Boundaries; Census; Census districts; Communities; Community; Mapping; Neighborhoods; Nevada – Las Vegas; Perception


Criminology | Geography | Place and Environment | Sociology