The Broken Window Theory
According to the broken window theory, being able to maintain and monitor urban environments on a daily basis may stop exaggerated vandalism, and reduce escalation from petty crimes into more serious crimes (Samaha, 2006, p.100). This theory further links crimes to both physical and social disorders in a community. This theory was put under scrutiny and tested in a disorganized environment with trash, broken windows and graffiti all over the place. This environment sends a message that nobody cares about the environment. Therefore, it will see an increased rate in crime. 20 crime hotspots were identified, and ten of them were cleaned thoroughly. This included picking up trash, fixing street lights and securing dark alleyways and abandoned buildings.
According to Lowel et al., It was observed that, in the areas that were cleaned up, there was up to a 15% decrease in the rate at which arrests were made. However in the areas the areas that were not cleaned up the rate of crime remained the same as indicated by the constant rate of arrests in the area. It was also discovered that most individuals living in the disorderly conditions were unemployed as indicated by their somewhat disorderly economy; this was also a major factor that contributed to crime (Harcourt, 2001, p.112). This research the scientifically proves the broken window theory disorderly conditions results in bad behavior, which then leads to a higher rate of crime. Nevertheless, fixing these disorderly behaviors can result in a reduction, in crime rate and, in some cases, prevent crime. This theory has created a lot of controversies since it was introduced. It has been a major argument that most researchers do not incorporate the economy, which could either be improving or declining, thus playing a major role in the environment hence the crime rate. Nevertheless, this study clearly shows that this theory is valid and can be implemented in different environments for an effective reduction in crime rates.
Harcourt, B. E. (2001). Illusion of order: The false promise of broken windows policing. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press.
Samaha, J. (2006). Criminal justice. Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth.