Broken window theory is a metaphorical theory according to which petty
disorder in your neighborhood will lead to the occurrence of serious crimes,
this theory has nothing to do with a broken window here it is just used as an
example to clarify that just as a small crack in a window if didn't repair on
time will lead to damage the whole window small disorders in your neighborhood
if didn't stop on time will lead to serious crimes in the future.
This is a criminological theory which states that small anti-social behavior and
civil disorder in society will lead to serious crimes, therefore, there has to
be something for it at the beginning so that it will not transform in something
History of broken window theory:
Broken window theory was established by JAMES Q. WILSON and George Kelling in
1982 they used the window as a metaphor for a crime. Their theory focuses on
stopping the crimes in the very first instance so that it didn't turn into a
more serious crime.
This theory has a serious impact in New York city it was in the 21st century
that police commissioner William Bratton translate the theory in the real-life
practice it was believed that due to this theory there was seriously decreased
in crime rate, they tried to introduce some serious punishment even for a small
The scenario was that when Mr. Bratton leaves his job than most of the crime
rates are turned almost halved which means that this theory has some positive
results in real life too.
Before the development of this theory:
Before the development of the theory, everyone has a major concern about serious
crime such as murder rape robbery James and George are the one who took a
different view they saw the serious crime as a final result of small chain
events and they want to stop that small chain so that it will not be transformed
into a serious one.
Before this theory, no one concerned about disorders in the neighborhood no one
ever considered it as a serious crime but due to this theory, people start
understanding that the disorder is nothing but a stage of the heinous crime.
Different stages of a crime according to this theory
It is believed that disorder is nothing but just small visible signs of a
crime and the police have to control those visible signs to stop the crime rate.
Some important concepts to keep in mind
One of the basic concepts of breaking window theory is self-awareness, one
always have to be aware of his surrounding you cannot blame any other person if
you are not self-aware of the situation, always watch your neighborhood try to
report any disorder or if possible then to take action against it because
sometimes it is not even possible for an officer to available at every place
than at that time you can work as the eyes of the law in simple words you play
one of the most important roles either in decreasing the crime or increasing the
crime the choice always lies in you.
Now discussing another topic disorder generally disorders are of two types
social and civil disorders in simple term disorder means a confused or a messy
state or in which there is a lack of order. For any area to become the hotspot
of the crime disorder is the general cause behind them any area can be quickly
turned into crime hotspot if there is any type of disorder now let us discuss to
understand it in a better way suppose there is a block near your house and the
road interlinked with it is in bad condition due to which police officers didn't
patrol there now as soon as robbers or any type of disorderly person came to
know about the condition of your area he/ she add that place in that favorite
list because it is easy to commit an offence where there is lack of order.
Zero tolerance or we can say order maintaining policy it is one of the tools
that is used to control the social disorder in your neighborhood it is believed
that even the small crimes in your neighborhood transformed into heinous if not
controlled on time therefore according to this policy the police didn't have to
bear even the small offences.
Broken window theory and its impact on different countries as we discussed
Newyork let us discuss Its impact on other countries
New Mexico Albuquerque instituted the safe street program which was based on
the broken window theory, the main aim of this theory is to make police
officials vigilant on the streets on which there was the high number of crime &
crash rate. The methodology behind this program is the use of deterrence theory
to prevent crime.
In 2005 Harvard university worked with local police to identify 34 crime hotspot
& in that hotspot, the officials will try to fix the street lights, clear trash
try to organize the mental health programs for the homeless people so that
physical environment of that area become clean and after that program police
experienced 20 % reduction in the call.
India and broken window theory:
Now as we all know that India till now didn't implement this theory. One of the
populated country in the world & also one of the worst affected by the crimes
but if India needed something like this? In my opinion, the answer is yes
because if broken window theory is there the 1984 riots not taken place also
recent Delhi riots is the product of social disorder happens before it, One way
to stop the bigger crime is to stop the small visibly disorder It takes a lot of
efforts to implement something like this in India & not only the police but
social awareness by general public also needed to decrease the crime rate in
when we are talking about the good points of any theory than we don't have to
forget about the bad ones because as we all known to the fact that every coin
has two faces and in this paragraph, we will try to discuss various problems
that were seen by many jurists in this theory:
- According to critics like Robert J Sampson the theory like cleaning your
neighborhood will automatically be titled homeless as a disorderly person we
cannot deny the fact that in most of the countries the person is judged by
the clothes and the way they live we can't change the mentality of the
society that's how we are living for many years therefore in most of the
cases homeless people were tagged as a criminal.
- This whole theory depends upon the presumption you don't know that what
going to be in the future this is not the permanent solution for decreasing
the crime we have to find the permanent solution, not every person who is
causing disorder in the neighborhood become the criminal.
- According to Dorothy Robert, this theory will lead to discrimination
against specific community just think for a minute for minority people
living in your country in America the black people have to face consequences
because it is the general presumption that the most of the criminals are
black which is not true but unfortunately it is making their life worse.
- It was observed that the policy which was framed for the success of this
theory known as the zero-tolerance policy will increase the rate of people
behind the bars also tagged someone as a criminal for a petty crime is not a
From the above analysis, we can conclude that broken window theory is the best
tool to reduce the crime rate but what we have to keep in mind that in the place
of zero-tolerance policy we can try to fulfill the economic need of the society
in my opinion if several personalities of a country came together than we can
tackle this only problem which I find during this research in this theory and
that would probably the best alternative for India.