An Analysis of the Article “Poking Holes in the Theory of ‘Broken Windows'”

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Policing of community’s can take form in many different ways. These ways include plenty of patrol day and night, little patrol or no patrol, and or foot patrol. Both of these articles: “Poking Holes in the Theory of ‘Broken Windows”, by D.W. Miller, and “Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety, by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling talk about the different theories on how to lower crime rates within the community. “Broken Windows” presents the theory that if little things are neglected then bigger things in turn will arise. “Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety” was written before the other article to establish its idea, as stated above. The second article, “Poking Holes in the Theory of ‘Broken Windows’,” was composed in order to get the point across that the “Broken Windows” theory is incorrect.

The article “Broken Windows The police and neighborhood safety” brings about the theory that “one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares and so breaking more windows costs nothing (Wilson, Kelling, 1982)”. They are saying that if the community lets some crime go then it is just going to be the beginning of more serious crime. The police are not helping reduce the crime rate due to the fact that the “police exist to regulate behavior, not to maintain the racial or ethnic purity of a neighborhood (Wilson, Kelling, 1982)”. “To the residents, the police who arrive in squad cars are either ineffective or uncaring (Wilson, Kelling, 1982)”.

So in turn they came up with the theory that making foot patrol in neighborhoods more readily available to the people would better deter crime. “To the surprise of hardly anyone, that foot patrol had not reduced crime rates. But residents of foot- patrolled neighborhoods seemed to feel more secure than persons in other areas, tended to believe that crime had been reduced…(Wilson, Kelling, 1982)”. By using this technique to try lowering crime rates they actually only fooled the public by making them feel more secure, when really they were not.

The article “Poking Holes in the Theory of ‘Broken Windows”, talked about how the article “Broken Windows” is “only a theory (Miller, 2001, p. 4)”. They came to this conclusion through the “reverse of Murphy’s Law: Virtually everything that could go right, did. Turf wars in the crack trade died down. The number of young males between the ages of 18-24- the crime-prone years – shrank. Unbroken economic growth provided disadvantaged young people with alternatives to crime (Miller, 2001, p. 4,5)”. In the essence when they thought their theory on cutting crime was working, it in fact was humanity that was changing for the better, proving their theory to be right.

In reading the two assigned articles, “Broken Windows: The police and neighborhood safety” and “Poking Holes in the Theory of ‘Broken Window,” it can be said that the second article contradicts the message that the first article was trying to get across. The “Broken Window” theory states that if little things are neglected then bigger things in turn will arise. In contrast to that, the second articles goes to show how the theory in the first one was wrong by pointing out how humanity changed as a whole. It made this change through great economic growth, which boosted people’s finances, and resulted in a decrease in criminal activities, instead of decreasing crime rates through increasing the policing of neighborhoods.

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An Analysis of the Article “Poking Holes in the Theory of ‘Broken Windows\'”. (2023, May 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/an-analysis-of-the-article-poking-holes-in-the-theory-of-broken-windows/

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