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Broken Windows Model of Policing Analysis

Broken Windows Model of Policing Analysis

Abstract

The “Broken windows theory” was coined from an Atlantic Monthly publication authored in 1982 by Wilson and Kelling. The authors argued that aggressive policing, as well as other unchecked physical and social disorder, are precursors of criminal behaviors. The article prompted the establishment of the broken windows policy, which proposed a zero-tolerance approach to policing that mostly targeted, minor crimes like vandalism and drunkenness. However, the efficacy of the theory and other related strategies in reducing crime has been a subject of fierce scholarly debates. As many scholars criticize the broken window policy for unfairly targeting the poor, some officers have opted to back off to avoid being questioned for their acts, a situation called the Ferguson Effect. A recent study suggests that the Ferguson Effect exists in the U.S. with 75 percent of officers admitting being hesitant to use force even when necessary. Another study conducted by Pew Research Center uncovered that the black and white officers viewed the protests that took place after some black suspects were shot in the past few years differently. In the survey, black officers viewed the protests as genuine acts of civil disobedience that aimed at holding the police officers accountable for their unlawful acts. The present assignment seeks to question the efficacy of broken windows model of policing in handling crimes in the society through a comprehensive literature review. Broken windows model is not effective in reducing crimes, because it unfairly targets the poor, the homeless, and minorities in the community.

Keywords: broken windows, Ferguson Effect, minorities, black lives matter movement.OR

Broken Windows Theory and the Ferguson Effect

Introduction

The Broken windows theory was coined from Atlantic Monthly publication authored in 1982 by Wilson and Kelling. Using the theory, the authors proposed that security agencies should enforce stringent measures to eliminate minor crimes to prevent people from indulging in more serious crimes. The policy was implemented for the first time in New York in 1993 by Mayor Rudy Giuliani, assisted by William Bratton, who was the police commissioner at that time. The mayor was concerned about handling minor crimes like spitting, jaywalking, and loitering. Although the implementation of broken windows policy may reduce crimes, no attempts have been made by scholars to reveal whether people committing minor offenses proceed to commit more serious crimes. Many scholars and policy analysts have blamed the policy for promoting aggressive over-policing of minority communities, overburdening the criminal justice system and causing tragedies like the case of Eric Garner. Broken windows model is not effective in reducing crimes, because it unfairly targets the poor, the homeless, and minorities in the community

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