Illusion of Order analysis paper-sociology

Illusion of Order analysis paper-sociology - Kayla Murphy...

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Kayla Murphy Illusion of Order Reaction Paper The “Broken Windows Theory” is rooted in an article by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling .The theory outlines a basic relationship between disorder and crime: disorder causes crime. Physical and social disorder within neighborhoods, if left unchecked, will lead to a breakdown of order within the neighborhood and cause serious crime. Physical disorder is marked by broken windows, graffiti, litter, abandoned lots, excessive noise and stray dogs. Social disorder is characterized by groups of unsupervised youths, public drinking, prostitution, drug trade, and loitering. High levels of social and physical disorder will signify to criminals that control in the neighborhood is low. The neighborhood low in control will have a lesser ability to seek help from their police department or to unify in order to demand action from their political representatives in order to prevent crime. The broken windows theory postulates that if signs of disorder are controlled, the community will have a marked decrease in criminal activity. Broken windows theory was most notably put into practice in New York City with the “Quality of Life Initiative” instituted by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani and police commissioner William Bratton in July 1994 through the use of order-maintenance policing. Order-maintenance policing attempted to halt neighborhood decline through aggressive control of perceived disorder. The initiative utilized ‘stop-and-frisk’ procedures, youth curfews, anti-loitering ordinances, and an overall crackdown on misdemeanor offenses. Rather than writing a ticket for turnstile jumpers, for example, suspects were arrested, processed and booked on the spot. Other examples of order-maintenance policing include Chicago’s Anti-Gang Loitering Ordinance, Chicago Housing Authority’s mass building searches and Charleston’s juvenile snitching policies for gun possession. These practices all are based in theories of changing the social meaning of minor offenses in order to better control serious crime. The result was increased numbers of
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Kayla Murphy incarcerated offenders, arrests, and numbers of complaints against police officers. They did not, however, result in less disorder and less reports of crime, as was the original intention. The current social-scientific research concerning disorder and crime does not support the broken windows theory. In Bernard Harcourt’s book Illusion of Order: The False Promise of Broken Windows Policing the theory is thoroughly dismissed. His empirical critique leaves little doubt that the studies which are purported to support the theory are seriously flawed. Notably, Skogan’s 1990 work Disorder and Decline: Crime and the Spiral of Decay in American Neighborhoods lacks sound data collection, uses inappropriate statistical analysis, and fails to divulge information vital to the interpretation of the study. The study hypothesized that a high perception of disorder would be positively correlated to high levels of crime. The data collected
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Illusion of Order analysis paper-sociology - Kayla Murphy...

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