The Theory of Broken Windows

The “Broken Windows” policing strategy, which has been used in New York and other large American cities since the early 1990s, has been credited with lowering crime in some areas. According to the hypothesis, stopping, warning, and even prosecuting perpetrators of low-impact crimes such as vandalism and disruptive behavior adds to a more cohesive neighborhood and a setting less likely to attract serious crime. In 1982, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling developed the broken window theory, which used the window as a metaphor for a crime. Their idea focuses on preventing crimes in the first place so that they do not escalate into more serious crimes. According to James Q. Wilson, the degree to which a society governs itself has a profound impact on crime and disorder. The “broken windows” referenced in the theory’s name refers to the belief that where one broken window is left un-replaced, there will be many more. A broken window is a tangible manifestation of the fact that the residents of a specific neighborhood do not care about their surroundings and that low-level criminality is permitted. The hypothesis had considerable impact on policymakers on most notably in New York in the 1990s.

According to this theory, there are several stages of a crime but most importantly:

  • Disorder
  • Crime

It is claimed that disorder is nothing more than little visual evidence of a crime, and that the authorities must regulate those obvious signs in order to minimize the crime rate. Their approach was zero – tolerance policy, in which the criminal justice system took low-level crime and anti-social behavior far more strictly than it had previously. This included “three strikes and you’re out” regulations, under which people may face substantial jail time for repeating minor offenses like unsolicited windshield washing, prostitution, drunk and disorderly behavior, and so on.

The concept was that low-level crime should not be accepted and strong punishments for anti-social behavior and minor infractions should be imposed in order to prevent more serious crime and assure that collective consciousness and social cohesion are maintained through clear boundary enforcement.

As we all know, India has yet to put this idea into practice. One of the most populous countries on the planet, as well as one of the hardest impacted by crime, but if India needs anything like this? Stopping the minor visible disorder, in my opinion, is one method to stop the larger crime. It takes a lot of effort to execute something like this in India, and not just the police, but also societal awareness among the general public, is required to reduce India’s crime rate. We can reach the conclusion that the broken window theory is the best tool for reducing crime rates, but we must keep in mind that instead of a zero-tolerance government policy, we can try to accomplish the financial needs of the country.

Categories: Education

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