LAD Paper - Is the"Broken Windows Theory Broken By Anne Flinchum Sociology 641 Section 308 Is the"Broken Windows Theory Broken In recent years the

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–4. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Is the “Broken Windows Theory” Broken? By Anne Flinchum Sociology 641 Section 308 October 11, 2006
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Is the “Broken Windows” Theory Broken? In recent years, the type of police enforcement most commonly found among departments in the United States is community policing or what has been called “broken windows” policing. This type of crime enforcement puts the police force on the streets where they are seen and made an important part of the neighborhoods they are trying to protect. The broken windows form of policing strives to enforce laws concerning quality of life crimes such as “graffiti, public urination and defecation, peddling, aggressive panhandling, prostitution, and public drinking” (Harcourt, 2005). The theory is based on the thought that by putting police officers on the streets to stop the minor offenses listed above, they will be able to discourage crimes of all types and restore order in the community. The debate between Bernard E. Harcourt, a Professor of Law at the University of Chicago, and David E. Thacher, the Associate Professor of Public Policy and Urban Planning at the University of Michigan, is about the broken windows theory: dealing with what it claims, whether or not the results support the claims, and if this type of policing is a waste of resources. Thacher does not defend the theory, but argues that disorder needs to be controlled and it is the police department’s job to do so. My argument agrees with Harcourt in saying that the “broken windows” theory has not been proven effective and that in order to save tax dollars, policing should be focused in other areas. In order to answer to this debate, there are a number of questions to ask. First, what is the “broken windows” theory? The broken windows theory, made popular by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, argues that “disorder and crime are linked in what they call a ‘developmental sequence’” (Wilson and Kelling, 2004).
Background image of page 2
According to the pair, “broken windows are a signal that no one cares, a sign that a community is out of control,” (Wilson and Kelling, 2004) and that “community disorder instills fear in the citizenry and creates an environment conducive to crime” (Kelling and Bratton, 1998). The theory assumes that once there are signs of disorder, like broken windows, the area will disintegrate and become more vulnerable to crime. It attaches a causal relationship between the reduction of minor crimes and the decrease in more violent ones. When taken for face value, the theory makes sense. Criminals, for example, would not hide bodies in a suburban, wealthy neighborhood; they would most likely choose old, vacant houses in a run-down neighborhood. Another important thing to consider, though it is not a focus of the debate, is how
Background image of page 3

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full DocumentRight Arrow Icon
Image of page 4
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

This note was uploaded on 04/27/2008 for the course LEGAL ST 641 taught by Professor Morales during the Fall '06 term at Wisconsin.

Page1 / 8

LAD Paper - Is the"Broken Windows Theory Broken By Anne Flinchum Sociology 641 Section 308 Is the"Broken Windows Theory Broken In recent years the

This preview shows document pages 1 - 4. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online