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Broken Windows TheoryElvia HerreraGovernors State University
The Broken Windows Theory was formulated in 1982 by GeorgeL. Kelling and James Q. Wilson.
• The theory simply states that something like anabandoned building with a broken windowsignals a careless attitude toward property, andtherefore an absence of respect for the law.• The “broken window” is the first step in aneighborhood’s slow deterioration and as timesgoes on there will be other show ofabandonment and decay – such as “more brokenwindows, trash accumulation, graffiti andabandoned cars” (Adams, J. 2006).
• The theory suggests thatwhen abandoned buildingswith broken windows areunrepaired, there will bemore broken windows andeventually the building willattract criminals to hangout in front of the building.• Individuals will begin tocommit crimes such aspanhandling, prostitution,and drug dealing.• These crimes will becomepart of the regularactivities taking place inthe abandoned buildingand will then spread outinto the neighborhood.
As illegal activities keep on going and “brokenwindows” becomes a problem in the wholeneighborhood, people who live in the area begin to feelvulnerable. They become less involved in thecommunity and are less willing to intervene to maintainpublic order.
• The Broken Windows Theory has beensupported by some but also criticized.• Some academics challenge the theorystatistically but the biggest criticism has comefrom ideological critics who say “brokenwindows theory” criminalizes poverty.
• There are others who support the theory, likeChicago who followed the theory to a“community policing” strategy.– The city government removes gang graffitirapidly, arranges beat meetings between policeofficers and residents, and follows up 311 callshaving to do with rundown buildings, abandonedlots, etc.
• Whether Broken Windows Theory issupported or not, people “ought to recognizethe importance of maintaining, intact,communities without broken windows”(Kelling & Wilson, 1982).
References• Kelling, G.L. & Wilson, J.Q. (1982). The Atlantic. BrokenWindows. Retrieved fromhttp://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1982/03/broken-windows/304465/5/• Adams, J. (2006). The “broken windows” theory. SupplyHouse Times, 49(5), 26-27. Retrieved fromhttp://search.proquest.com/docview/220030885?accountid=27966• ‘Broken Windows’ and crime. (2007, May 06). ChicagoTribune. Retrieved fromhttp://search.proquest.com/docview/420590936?accountid=27966