Broken Windows

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  • A concept derived from an article by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling published in March 1982 in The Atlantic Monthly. The authors argued that neighborhood disorder creates fear and gives out crime-promoting signals. According to the theory, targeting small problems, such as vandalism on walls, litter on sidewalks, or broken windows in abandoned buildings, will prevent more serious crime from occurring. Based on this concept, the New York City Police Department implemented a “zero tolerance” policy for policing petty crimes in 1990. The 1990s was a time of significant decrease in crime in New York City, which was largely attributed to the policing approach's focus on maintaining community order and safety. Critics of the theory argue that even those cities that did not ...

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