Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities

Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities

by Catherine M. Coles, George L. Kelling
     
 

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Based on a groundbreaking theory of crime prevention, this practical and empowering book shows how citizens, business owners, and police can work together to ensure the safety of their communities. George Kelling, one of America’s leading criminologists, has proven the success of his method across the country, from the New York City subways to the public

Overview

Based on a groundbreaking theory of crime prevention, this practical and empowering book shows how citizens, business owners, and police can work together to ensure the safety of their communities. George Kelling, one of America’s leading criminologists, has proven the success of his method across the country, from the New York City subways to the public parks of Seattle. Here, Kelling and urban anthropologist and lawyer Catherine Coles demonstrate that by controlling disorderly behavior in public spaces, we can create an environment where serious crime cannot flourish, and they explain how to adapt these effective methods for use in our own homes and communities.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A thoughtful reexamination of crime prevention.

There are any number of ideas out there on how to fight crime, but few have proven so successful as the strategy articulated by crime consultant Kelling and James Q. Wilson in a groundbreaking 1982 article, The Police and Neighborhood Safety. While traditional policing has concentrated on reacting to crime, Kelling and Wilson argued for a more proactive approach. Using the now famous analogy of the "broken window" (a broken window leads to more broken windows which lead to graffiti, etc., creating an atmosphere conducive to criminal behavior), they argued that by attacking the quality-of-life crimes traditional policing has largely ignored—such as public drunkenness and aggressive panhandling—more serious crimes would be deterred. Several cities, most notably New York, which have experimented with these ideas have enjoyed impressive drops in crime. Using these success stories, Kelling and Coles, a lawyer and anthropologist, further elaborate on the practice of "broken window" policing and on how to identify and combat specific sources of disorder. Thus, the authors favor more beat cops, more community self-policing, and greater police targeting of public intoxication as well as antisocial behavior typically associated with the homeless. While the authors stress that they are not anti-homeless, they believe that practices such as camping in public spaces and aggressive panhandling are the chief "broken windows" in society today. This assertion leads to long—often tedious—discussions of the fate of various cities' anti-panhandling statutes and how to draft laws that might survive challenges on civil-liberties grounds. Not sure if it wants to be a dry, academic monograph, or a more popular account, this book suffers from a certain unevenness of tone.

While statistical backing for the authors' specific assertions is light, their larger program appears to have worked wonders wherever it has been tried. This may very well be the future of policing.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780684837383
Publisher:
Free Press
Publication date:
01/28/1998
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
624,502
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Catherine M. Coles is a Research Associate in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University who is currently studying the development of community-based prosecution. They live in Hanover, New Hampshire.

George L. Kelling is a Professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University and a Research Fellow in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He is also an Adjunct Fellow at the Manhattan Institute.

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