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NCJ Number: 202166 Find in a Library
Title: Does "Broken Windows" Law Enforcement Reduce Serious Crime?
Author(s): John L. Worrall
Corporate Author: California Institute for County Government (CICG)
United States of America
Date Published: August 2002
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: California Institute for County Government (CICG)
Sacramento, CA 95814
Sale Source: California Institute for County Government (CICG)
Capital Office
1107 9th Street, Suite 1011
Sacramento, CA 95814
United States of America
Document: PDF
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document (Online)
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This document examines the question of whether the “Broken Windows” theory reduces crime.
Abstract: One of the most controversial law enforcement theories is the Broken Windows theory, which states that aggressive targeting of minor crimes can lead to a reduction in more serious crimes down the road. As minor offenses go unpunished, an air of lawlessness can pervade a community and lead to an increase in serious crime. Serious crime can be avoided by aggressively targeting problems of physical (graffiti) and social (prostitution) disorder. Some people have expressed concerns that the tactics endorsed by broken windows law enforcement can lead to harassment of the innocent. This research indicates that broken windows can be an effective tool in reducing serious crime in California counties. A macro-level analysis was conducted of the effects of broken windows law enforcement on serious crime, controlling for other factors linked to crime. The results confirm that vigorous enforcement of laws against minor crimes can help to reduce the future incidence of more serious crimes. More arrests for certain types of low-level misdemeanors can reduce the incidence of certain types of serious property crimes. The results also indicate that if district attorneys prosecute minor offenses more vigorously, a reduction in serious crimes is likely to follow. 2 tables, 14 footnotes, 2 appendices, 63 references
Main Term(s): Crime causes theory; Social conditions
Index Term(s): Citizen crime tolerance; Deterrence; Environmental influences; Physical crime prevention; Police crime-prevention; Social control
Note: CICG Research Brief, downloaded September 16, 2003.
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