Summary: The Broken Window Theory

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Fixing Broken Windows is the analysis and elaboration on methods of crime prevention offered originally in an article by crime consultant George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in the 1982 article, “The Police and Neighborhood Safety” published in The Atlantic. In this article, the analogy of the “broken window” was used, where a broken window is really mearly a symbol of disorder in a community that fosters an environment that leads to more criminal behavior.
The book itself elaborates on the “broken window” theory, not only leading into an explanation on the progression of the disorder in a “rundown” society but also explaining how the very disorder itself is often underestimates as a source of problems for a society.
Misdamernors such as
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This theory postulates that the root of all crime is found in the surroundings that the crimes take place in. Naturally, if the community itself is rundown it is more likely to have crime in it, where highly maintained and regulated communities do not allow for such disturbances. Neighborhoods containing disorder not only give the perceived opinion that such circumstances are allowed, but also lead to further destruction and propagation of disorder. In the article that originally described this theory, and sparked it’s very name, James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling said “Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it 's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters...”. This vicious cycle of deterioration is what leads to crimes and criminal behavior in poorer and less maintained…show more content…
Although many of these norms main remain unspoken and are largely learned behaviors, they remain fundamental to the running of day-to-day societal functions. Human beings are first and foremost animals, who learn how to adapt to an enviroment in such a way as to remain a uniform part of the “whole”. When a new individual is entering a new environment without other people around to learn these subconscious social cues from, they become dependent on the urban environment itself to indicate the expectations that are found here. In an ordered and clean environment, one that is clearly cared for and regularly maintained, there is a signal that criminal behavior is not tolerated, and any individual entering the area is not only expected to also not tolerate any disorganized behavior, but not engage in criminal behavior themselves. Conversely, a disordered environment, one with “broken windows” such as graffiti, excessive litter, actual broken windows, indicates that criminal behavior is present here and is also allowed. No perceived consequences lead to perceived acceptance of such behavior, and any individual that is
This part of the “broken windows” theory assumes that the landscape "communicates" to people directly. A broken window transmits to the hoi polloi through the physical circumstances of a community the message that that area

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