How would a sociologist explain these phenomena?
After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, there were reports of increased criminal activity and looting. Looters broke into electronics stores and stole merchandise, and increasing numbers of violent attacks exceeded all efforts of the police to keep the rising levels of violence in check. How would a sociologist explain these phenomena?
In the absence of a social context, urban residents, viewing the chaos in the streets in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, altered their behaviors to conform to the norms of a new social reality.
In the absence of social structures to put limits on their behavior, the criminal members of any society view times of crisis as opportunities to mobilize large number of people to engage in criminal behaviors unimpeded.