Broken Windows and Victimology

Last Updated: 12 Mar 2023
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The spinsterhood where you do not want to get out of the car. Are people more likely to be a victim of crime in these neighborhoods? The spatial syntax theory supports the idea that you are more likely to be a victim of a crime in certain areas (Nubian, 2006), and the broken window theory of crime volitionally supports the Idea that people are more likely to commit crimes If they think no one cares. Small crimes can lead to bigger crimes in areas where people are used to disorder and a lack of consequences for the smaller crimes (Keeling & Wilson, 1982).

The broken window theory was introduced in a 1982 article titled broken windows by James Q. Wilson and George L. Keeling. In the article they discuss psychologist Philip Sombrero's experiment with an abandoned car. The experiment was done to show how even good people that usually do not commit crimes will commit a crime under certain circumstances (Keeling & Wilson, 1982). Zanzibar did many experiments that involved elements of good people doing evil things. He may be best known for his Stanford prison experiment, where he wanted to explore situational variables on human behavior.

The prison experiment remains one of the most well-known psychological experiments (Rubberiest, 2013). Zanzibar served as the president of the American Psychiatric Association in 2002. My great respect for Summarizes work got me Interested In the broken window theory. The broken window experiment showed how even in a nice neighborhood where people would not usually commit crimes they did vandalize and damage the abandoned car after Zanzibar broke the window on the car. The experiment set the stage for the broken window theory.

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According to the broken window theory crime will be more prevalent in areas that are run down and uncared for. If a building has one broken window that has not been fixed it gives the impression that no one cares enough to fix the window. When people think that no one cares they will break more windows in the building Just for fun. As the neighborhood deteriorates and gets more vandalism the more crimes will be committed in that area. According to Keeling and Winslow community deterioration and crime are inextricably linked (Keeling & Wilson, 1982).

New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was motivated by the broken window theory to clean up New York. Together with the chief of police Willie Britton they took a very strict stance on graffiti, pan handling, prostitution, and other petty crimes. They proved that by cleaning up the neighborhoods and taking care of the petty crimes it had a big effect on the bigger crimes as well. There were 2,801 murders were committed 1994 the year that Giuliani took office and by 2003 the murder rate was down to 537, the lowest murder rate since 1963 (Adams, 2006).

Another study done by a college student on the broken window theory in 2011 also produced positive results (US Fed News Service, Including US State News, 2011). The student cleaned up neighborhoods near campus to decrease the crime rate and to test out the validity of he broken window theory. The work that she did had a positive impact on the residents of the areas that she cleaned up. Opposition to the broken window theory state that there is no real evidence to prove that this theory is valid.

A main point that they make is that the lack of crime in the areas that have been cleaned up and have been policed more regularly may be due to other things and not Just the policing and upkeep of the neighborhood. While the opposing people do recognize there is a 4 correlation between the areas that have had increased policing and more upkeep ND the reduction in crime, they are quick to point out that correlation does not indicate causation (Miller, 2001). The main weakness in the broken window theory is that it is very difficult to prove the theory.

I think that the opposing side of the broken window theory is not very strong. Much of the criticism takes the theory too literally expecting that Just fixing the windows and graffiti will stop murder. However, the theory is more about how once an area starts to deteriorate with petty crimes it can quickly turn into an area where more serious crimes are committed. Once law abiding citizens' start feeling unsafe in an area they leave the area and while the area is becoming less populated by law abiding citizens it will gradually become more populated by criminals.

Anyone can be a victim of crime however, there are things that people can sometimes do that can increase the chances that they will be unable to fix it and leave it parked in the parking lot with the broken window it could increase the chances of someone trying to steal the radio out of the car. I experienced factorization of property crime on two occasions in my life and looking ace on it after learning about the broken window theory I now see that there were things I could have done to decrease my chances of being a victim.

The first time I was a victim of property crime I had left my car parked in my work parking lot for two weeks while I was waiting to get the car repaired. It had engine trouble and I thought it would be k to leave it in the parking lot. The car sat there for weeks before someone broke the window and tried to steal the radio. The second time I was a victim of property crime I had moved into an apartment complex in a city I had lived n for years. I Just moved a few blocks over from where I had been living so I thought that it was obviously a good neighborhood and I did not even look for any signs of trouble.

I was 5 used to living in the surrounding neighborhoods with homeowners who took good care of their property however, the apartment complex was different people did not take care of their property left broken down cars in the parking lot many of the cars were damaged with busted windows and accident damage to them. I did not pay attention to the cars or the parking lot when I decided to move in. Within weeks of moving into the apartment my car was vandalized and my daughter's bike was stolen off of the back patio.

I believe that the broken window theory does explain the amount of property damage and vandalism of that apartment complex that I lived in. To remain safe and not continue to be a victim of crime I moved out of that neighborhood. People in general want to be safe and not become victims of crime if I had understood the theory of spatial syntax and the broken window theory at the time I moved into that neighborhood I would probably paid more attention to certain details and avoided the situation by choosing a different apartment complex.

I am not different in the way that I moved to get away from crime many people alter their lifestyle as a result of fear of crime. Many people now live in gated communities (Nubian, 2006). People often feel safer in gated communities and in areas where they feel that people care more about their property. When people feel safer they are more present in the streets and therefore criminals would be less likely to be active in these areas. There are areas that are not kept up where the sense of community is rower that crime is more prevalent in.

I can see the broken window theory active in society because of this. People who live or spend a lot of time in these areas are more likely to be victims of crime. I support the broken window theory and believe that communities should be more involved in the condition of their neighborhoods and that would reduce the crime rate. When people do not take care of their property they are more likely to become a victim of crime. In that same manner of thinking 6 overlooked or go unpunished that can lead to bigger more violent crimes.

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Broken Windows and Victimology. (2018, Jan 11). Retrieved from

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