Broken Windows Theory’s “Tipping Point” Concept Challenged in New Study

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Since it was published, the broken windows theory has been a major influence on policing practices, drawing a connection between policing and neighborhood safety.

Wilson and Kelling’s central thesis contends that a resident’s perception of disorder can result in fear, leading them to disengage with the community. That behavior then leads to an environment where criminal activity would become more common. 

The broken windows theory has been debated and criticized for its role in racial discrimination in policing. Others argue for increased analysis of the link between disorder and crime. De Biasi’s research examines the relationship between “physical disorder and violent crime rate in an effort to shed light on the broken windows tipping point” by using public data from Detroit’s neighborhoods.

Listen to interview with Alaina De Biasi

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