Broken Window Theory Discussion


After listening to “How A Theory Of Crime And Policing Was Born, And Went Terribly Wrong” from Hidden Brainanswer the following questions using 2-5 complete sentences.  To support your discussion, please use examples from the podcast.  Cited direct quotes can help add necessary support.  You might also consider support from other material – the required readings, for example.  Remember to edit your work for writing errors, including general clarity and errors in spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc. 

1. Chapter Two in Babbie’s text discusses theories and hypotheses.  What does the broken windows theory seek to explain?  What might be a hypothesis derived from this theory? 


2. Why was broken windows theory so attractive to policymakers? Explain.  


3. Sociological theories are usually incomplete.  They intend to explain the real world, but even the best theories are close approximations of realty and therefore partial explanations.  Critically evaluate broken windows theory as an explanation of crime.  You are welcome to provide both support and criticism for the theory.  Remember, here you’re evaluating the merit of the theory and not its application or use in policy (we will discuss that in class). 


         Broken Window Theory

                                              Question #1

Before the establishment and integration of some incivility theories such as broken windows, law enforcement officers and scholars focused mainly on major crimes such as murder, rape, and robbery that were viewed as the most serious and impactful for the victim. The “Broken Windows” emerged as a completely different perspective containing motivational ideas for “zero tolerance” policing, in which officers monitor little crimes like public intoxication, loitering, panhandling, and graffiti, and those convicted of them were severely punished by the courts.  The theory explained that when little things are taken care of, a lot of the major things may be avoided.  The theory considered a serious crime as the end result of a long series of events, hypothesizing that crime stemmed from disorder and that if the disorder was eliminated, major crimes would simply disappear.

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