In 500 words, (based on chapters 25), please explain (1) what is the position of Wilson and Kelling, (2) where did the theory of Broken Windows come from, (3) how did Wilson and Kelling support the theory.

In 500 words, please state the position of Samuel Walker in Chapter 26.  He attempts to dispute several major tenets put forth by Wilson and Kelling.  What are they?

In 350 words, Compare and Contrast the two approaches of policing (community in chapter 27 and problem oriented in chapter 28).  Which do you think is more effective for crime control?



Wilson and Kelling’s Broken Windows Theory


Wilson and Kelling, in their seminal article “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety,” argue that maintaining order and addressing minor signs of disorder in neighborhoods can prevent serious crime. They posit that visible signs of disorder, such as broken windows, graffiti, or loitering, create an environment conducive to criminal activity by signaling a lack of social control.


The theory of Broken Windows originated from an article by Wilson and Kelling published in The Atlantic Monthly in 1982. Building on the idea that disorder breeds crime, the authors proposed a proactive approach to policing focused on addressing minor infractions and maintaining public order to prevent more serious offenses.

Support for the Theory

Wilson and Kelling supported the Broken Windows theory by highlighting how unchecked disorderly behavior can escalate into more significant criminal activity. They argued that by addressing minor offenses promptly and visibly, law enforcement can signal to potential offenders that disorder will not be tolerated, thus deterring crime. The theory emphasizes the importance of community engagement, police presence, and collaboration between law enforcement and residents to create safe and orderly neighborhoods.

Samuel Walker’s Critique of Broken Windows Theory

Disputes by Samuel Walker

In Chapter 26, Samuel Walker challenges several key tenets of the Broken Windows theory put forth by Wilson and Kelling. He disputes the following:

1. Causality: Walker questions the direct causal link between disorder and serious crime proposed by Wilson and Kelling, suggesting that other factors may contribute to crime rates.
2. Over-Policing: Walker raises concerns about the potential for over-policing and discriminatory practices in implementing Broken Windows policing strategies, particularly in minority communities.
3. Efficacy: Walker argues that empirical evidence supporting the effectiveness of Broken Windows policing in reducing crime is inconclusive and subject to interpretation.

Comparison of Community Policing and Problem-Oriented Policing

Community Policing

Community policing emphasizes building partnerships between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve. Officers work collaboratively with residents to identify and address local concerns, engage in problem-solving initiatives, and promote trust and cooperation.

Problem-Oriented Policing

Problem-oriented policing focuses on analyzing specific crime issues or recurring problems within communities. Police officers use data-driven approaches to identify root causes of crime, develop tailored solutions, and collaborate with various stakeholders to address underlying issues.

Effectiveness for Crime Control

While both community policing and problem-oriented policing have unique strengths, problem-oriented policing may be more effective for crime control in certain contexts. Problem-oriented policing allows for targeted interventions based on data analysis and a thorough understanding of underlying issues contributing to crime. By addressing root causes and implementing evidence-based strategies, problem-oriented policing can lead to sustainable crime reduction outcomes. However, community policing remains essential for building trust, fostering positive police-community relationships, and promoting long-term community safety and well-being. A combination of both approaches tailored to specific community needs and crime challenges may offer the most comprehensive and effective approach to crime control.


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