George Kelling's Broken Window Theory

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Policing in the United States consists of multiple responsibilities, which are defined by social scientist James Wilson as maintaining orderly conduct within a community, providing aid to citizens when needed, and the actual act of enforcing the law. Wilson and criminologist George Kelling came together to create what many believe as an effective solution to crime control by putting more focus on order maintenance, which can also be described as the “Broken Window Theory”. Order maintenance is the idea of creating a safe environment for its citizens by maintaining control as well as focusing officer’s attention on potential criminal acts and the prevention of such events. This theory, known as the “Broken Window Theory”, is “an explanation for crime based on the notion that physical decay in a community (such as abandoned buildings) can breed disorder and lead to more serious crime by signaling that…show more content…
This idea that one broken window could lead to an opening for criminal activity has given Wilson and Kelling this belief that “street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked” (Cole & Gertz, page 512), and that the emphasis should be more on the “quality-of-life” rather than strict law enforcement (Carter and Sapp 1994; Joseph 1994; Kelling & Coles 1996; Skogan 1990; Trojanoqicz 1994). Not only do criminal acts interrupt a society, but the fear of crime as well makes for a disruption in the uniformity. One broken window can lead to unlawful situations simply because of the fear instilled in the first place. Individuals within a society break apart and retreat to the comfort of their homes, breaking up the social interactions and norms of their community. It’s a ripple effect starting with a small and controllable issue, which then grows into a much larger and harder to control

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