Broken Windows Theory Essay

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Government officials are continually searching for ways to increase the safety of its citizens. Research has shown that one such way to accomplish this task is through the maintaining of public areas. Since the early 1980s, this idea has been known as the Broken Windows Theory. Applying this theory in the urban setting can increase the quality of living for the area citizens, help prevent future crimes, and promote a positive relationship between the police force and the citizens.
James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling were not the first researchers to point out the damaging effects that disorder, such as run-down buildings and graffiti, had on communities. They were, however, the first to accuse disorder of actually encouraging crime. (Gau & Pratt, 2010) The researchers were set on improving the minor problems in communities. Researchers dubbed these irritants “incivilities” or “disorder” and proposed that vandalism, graffiti, prostitution, aggressive panhandling and other socially undesirable conditions were the real causes behind people’s fear of crime. By doing so, Wilson and Kelling believed the appearance of the communities would greatly improve, decreasing the citizen’s fear of crime. Citizens would begin to take pride in their community and feel comfortable enough to just walk the streets. (2011, 106)
Wilson and Kelling (2010) believed that the failure to address disorder in a timely manner fostered a belief among community residents that all mechanisms of formal and informal control had failed. This breakdown in community order is proven to be a negative influence on the relationship between the police force and the citizens it is sworn to protect. A community with minimal disorder results in community pride an...

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The Broken Windows theory helps to accomplish many important objectives that all government agencies in America deem essential; increasing the quality of life for citizens, helping to prevent future crimes from occurring, as well as promote a positive relationship between the police and the citizens they protect. Of course this idea isn’t flawless, but does provide solutions for the problems mentioned. The implementation of this theory will reduce crime, but more importantly increase the feeling of safety for citizens. By keeping community disorder and minor crimes in check, communities look more orderly and foster community pride. Of course people think the biggest job of the police force is to fight major crime, but in reality, they can accomplish just as much by community policing and enforcing minor incivilities more strictly.
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