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Fixing broken windows : restoring order and reducing crime in our communities

TL;DR: In this article, Kelling and urban anthropologist and lawyer Catherine Coles demonstrate that by controlling disorderly behavior in public spaces, we can create an environment where serious crime cannot flourish, and they explain how to adapt these effective methods for use in our own homes and communities.
Abstract: Based on a groundbreaking theory of crime prevention, this practical and empowering book shows how citizens, business owners, and police can work together to ensure the safety of their communities. George Kelling, one of America s leading criminologists, has proven the success of his method across the country, from the New York City subways to the public parks of Seattle. Here, Kelling and urban anthropologist and lawyer Catherine Coles demonstrate that by controlling disorderly behavior in public spaces, we can create an environment where serious crime cannot flourish, and they explain how to adapt these effective methods for use in our own homes and communities."
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Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the sources and consequences of public disorder are assessed based on the videotaping and systematic rating of more than 23,000 street segments in Chicago, and highly reliable scales of social and physical disorder for 196 neighborhoods are constructed.
Abstract: This article assesses the sources and consequences of public disorder. Based on the videotaping and systematic rating of more than 23,000 street segments in Chicago, highly reliable scales of social and physical disorder for 196 neighborhoods are constructed. Census data, police records, and an independent survey of more than 3,500 residents are then integrated to test a theory of collective efficacy and structural constraints. Defined as cohesion among residents combined with shared expectations for the social control of public space, collective efficacy explains lower rates of crime and observed disorder after controlling neighborhood structural characteristics. Collective efficacy is also linked to lower rates of violent crime after accounting for disorder and the reciprocal effects of violence. Contrary to the "broken windows" theory, however, the relationship between public disorder and crime is spurious except perhaps for robbery.

2,304 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: For instance, this paper found that as the concentration of minority groups and poverty increases, residents of all races perceive heightened disorder even after they account for an extensive array of personal characteristics and independently observed neighborhood conditions.
Abstract: This article reveals the grounds on which individuals form perceptions of disorder. Integrating ideas about implicit bias and statistical discrimination with a theoretical framework on neighborhood racial stigma, our empirical test brings together personal interviews, census data, police records, and systematic social observations situated within some 500 block groups in Chicago. Observed disorder predicts perceived disorder, but racial and economic context matter more. As the concentration of minority groups and poverty increases, residents of all races perceive heightened disorder even after we account for an extensive array of personal characteristics and independently observed neighborhood conditions. Seeing disorder appears to be imbued with social meanings that go well beyond what essentialist theories imply, generating self-reinforcing processes that may help account for the perpetuation of urban racial inequality.

1,305 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
12 Dec 2008-Science
TL;DR: This work generated hypotheses about the spread of disorder and tested them in six field experiments and found that, when people observe that others violated a certain social norm or legitimate rule, they are more likely to violate other norms or rules, which causes disorder to spread.
Abstract: Imagine that the neighborhood you are living in is covered with graffiti, litter, and unreturned shopping carts. Would this reality cause you to litter more, trespass, or even steal? A thesis known as the broken windows theory suggests that signs of disorderly and petty criminal behavior trigger more disorderly and petty criminal behavior, thus causing the behavior to spread. This may cause neighborhoods to decay and the quality of life of its inhabitants to deteriorate. For a city government, this may be a vital policy issue. But does disorder really spread in neighborhoods? So far there has not been strong empirical support, and it is not clear what constitutes disorder and what may make it spread. We generated hypotheses about the spread of disorder and tested them in six field experiments. We found that, when people observe that others violated a certain social norm or legitimate rule, they are more likely to violate other norms or rules, which causes disorder to spread.

940 citations

Journal ArticleDOI
TL;DR: In this article, the authors review research on police effectiveness in reducing crime, disorder, and fear in the context of a typology of innovation in police practices, emphasizing two dimensions: one concerning the diversity of approaches, and the other, the level of focus.
Abstract: The authors review research on police effectiveness in reducing crime, disorder, and fear in the context of a typology of innovation in police practices. That typology emphasizes two dimensions: one concerning the diversity of approaches, and the other, the level of focus. The authors find that little evidence supports the standard model of policing—low on both of these dimensions. In contrast, research evidence does support continued investment in police innovations that call for greater focus and tailoring of police efforts, combined with an expansion of the tool box of policing beyond simple law enforcement. The strongest evidence of police effectiveness in reducing crime and disorder is found in the case of geographically focused police practices, such as hot-spots policing. Community policing practices are found to reduce fear of crime, but the authors do not find consistent evidence that community policing (when it is implemented without models of problem-oriented policing) affects either crime or d...

743 citations