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Broken window theory

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 more serious.

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 crime

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

  1. Disorder
  2. Crime
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:

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.

Case study:
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.

Lowell, Massachusetts

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 India.

Critical evaluation
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 good point.

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.


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