Pub. date: 2002 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412950664 | Print ISBN: 9780761922582 | Online ISBN: 9781412950664| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Broken Windows Theory
Adam J. McKee
Few academic theories have garnered as much attention from such a diverse audience as has broken windows theory. Supporters and critics of the theory include attorneys, politicians, police, scholars, journalists, and representatives of myriad other disciplines. When introduced, it was a simple, elegant theory that held great promise. That promise was to accomplish what no previous theory had accomplished: to bring down soaring crime rates. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling used broken windows as a metaphor for disorder within neighborhoods. Their theory links disorder and incivility within a community to subsequent occurrences of serious crime. Broken windows theory had an enormous impact on police policy throughout the 1990s and will remain influential. Perhaps the most notable application of the theory was in New York City under the direction of Police Commissioner William Bratton. He and many others are convinced that the aggressive order-maintenance practices of the New York Police ...