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Revisiting Broken Windows Theory: Examining the Sources of the Discriminant Validity of Perceived Disorder and Crime

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2010 Pages: 758-766
Date Published
July 2010
9 pages

This study examined broken windows theory.


Two lines of critiques have developed in reference to broken windows theory: (1) Concentrated disadvantage appears to be more intricately linked with disorder than the theory allows for; and (2) There is concern that disorder and crime lack discriminant validity in that people do not actually distinguish between the two. The present study integrated these two perspectives by examining whether concentrated disadvantageincluding disorder itselfaffects the extent to which people view disorder and crime as separate problems. Multivariate models showed that people who believe their neighborhood to be more disorderly were more likely to make distinctions between disorder and crime. Theoretical recommendations for future tests of broken windows theory are presented and the policy implications for order maintenance policing programs are discussed. (Published Abstract)

Date Published: July 1, 2010