The Broken Windows Theory: How Physical Environments Can Impact Behavior

The broken windows theory is a criminological theory that suggests that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior and disorder in an environment can lead to further crime and disorder, including serious crimes. The theory was first introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982, in an article entitled “Broken Windows”, which was published in the Atlantic Monthly. The theory has been used as a justification for various policing strategies, including Broken Windows policing, which is a policing strategy that involves targeting minor disorders and crimes in order to prevent more serious crime from taking place.