Theories Of Broken Windows Theory

1455 Words 6 Pages
The Broken Windows Theory, first introduced in 1982, asserts that disorder and crime are connected and that disorder can negatively impact society, leading to a high incidence rate of crimes, both misdemeanors and felonies. Through order-maintenance policing, disorder can be controlled, creating a safe and orderly atmosphere, instilling trust between law enforcement and civilians, and the crime rate can be maintained at a low rate. While there is evidence that correlation between Broken Windows policing and crime may be more coincidental, it has been asserted that law enforcement feel that the theory presented by Wilson and Kelling is workable and precisely describes the preferred method of urban jurisdiction maintenance.

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116). Social scientists Wilson and Kelling introduced their hypothesis by claiming that a building with a single broken window left uncorrected soon experiences further broken windows, vandalism, squatting, and other illegal activity. With the building seemingly left to blight by both citizens and law enforcement, these detrimental activities would not be hindered in any way, and would in fact essentially be encouraged because it would be believed that no one was monitoring the building. This inattention would thus usher in lawlessness, creating fear in citizens of the immediate area. Residents who are fearful often do not report further detrimental activity, but instead stay inside or move out of the area, which in turn creates opportunity for more miscreants and undesirable elements to move in. In short, the theory proposed by Wilson and Kelling asserted that “tolerating minor physical and social disorder in a neighborhood (such as graffiti, litter, aggressive panhandling, or turnstile jumping) encourages serious violent crime” (Greene, 2007, p. …show more content…
A later study authored by George Kelling and William Sousa titled Do Police Matter? An Analysis of the Impact of New York City’s Police Reforms “shows that aggressive misdemeanor arrest policies in New York City account for the significant drop in crime during the mid-to late-1990s” (Harcourt, 2005, p. 4). In their study, Kelling and Sousa asserted that based on their research, “the average NYPD precinct during the ten-year period studied could expect to suffer one less violent crime for approximately every 28 additional misdemeanor arrests made” (Harcourt, 2005, p. 18). Finding such success with Broken-Windows Policing, the New York City Police Commissioner, Bill Bratton, has maintained that the preferred order-maintenance policy of stopping people on the street, known as “stop-and-frisk” would “‘remain a very basic tool’ of his department and that he intended for his officers to aggressively enforce the law against low-level offenders to ensure that public places feel safe” (Goldstein,

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