Broken Windows Theory

757 Words4 Pages
The Broken Windows theory offered by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling is an explanation for crime centered on the notion that the physical decay in a community can breed disorder and lead to more serious crimes by signaling that laws are not being enforced in that area; furthermore, a focus on controlling minor offences would effectively decrease more serious crimes in said community, (Worrall, 2015). As a strong supporter of the theory, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani implemented numerous programs closely associated with the theory; explaining in a press conference that “obviously murder and graffiti are two vastly different crimes. But they are part of the same continuum, and a climate that tolerates one is more likely to tolerate…show more content…
What they found is that white residents were far more likely to report disorder than blacks or Latinos living in the same area, (Morin, 2005). Another disturbing find is that as the proportion of black residents increased, so did the white resident’s perception of disorder, (Morin, 2012). Latinos were far more likely than both black and white residents to perceive disorder in accordance to the black population of the area, (Morin, 2012). The reason behind these reactions revolves around the social stigma that associates disorder with African Americans making them a targeted race to…show more content…
The real-world application of the theory can be first credited to William J. Bratton who was made police commissioner of New York by newly elected mayor Rudy Giuliani. During the years that Giuliani was in office, overall violent crime dropped by half and homicide rate fell 70%, (Brook, 2006). However, critics say that there are additional factors that lead to the drop in crime. A controversial theory presented by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner states that the legalization of abortion in the 1970’s was the biggest factor in the drop of crime in the 90’s, (Brook, 2006). Due to the decline of unwanted births of infants from often poor and fatherless families in the 70’s led to a decline of juvenile delinquents in the 80’s and harden criminals in the 90’s, (Brook, 2006). Another argument against the theory is one presented by Harcourt and Ludwig as they claim that the drop in crime is a result to the crack-cocaine epidemic. As crack-cocaine was first introduced in the 80’s, the lucrative business created turf wars resulting in a sudden rise in crime; but as the drug became more available, the prices dropped significantly resulting in the dealers finding that the risk was not worth the profit, thereby reducing the rates of violent crimes, (Brook,

More about Broken Windows Theory

Open Document