Broken Windows

It was announced on 03rd March 2012 that James Q Wilson, US political scientist, had died, aged 80. Wilson was author, along with George Kelling, of potentially the most important piece of writing about modern policing: Broken Windows.

For those connected to policing, it is worth half an hour of anyone’s life to read this … and then read it all again once you’ve thought it through: it is of direct relevance to those interested in policing and mental health for reasons outlined in the article itself.

First published in March 1982, in The Atlantic Magazine.


2 thoughts on “Broken Windows

  1. Very interesting. I have a different view of policing (& the context of policing). As you said it’s very well worth half an hour of anyone’s time.

    I get the impression that here in UK we currently have very many ‘tipping point’ communities. I’m less sure that current conventional ‘wisdom’ is up to the job. We seem to be making the same sorts of mistakes in similair (mobile) circumstances that the Americans made in some of the ‘projects’ and with predictably unfortunate results.

    This will certainly give me cause for reflection – especially regarding the balance of community needs and individual rights.

    Funny – I thought I knew where I stood on civil liberties last night. This morning I’m no longer quite so sure.

    Thankyou for posting this

    1. Pleasure – not saying I agree with all of it; and where it became an underpin to an approach it was years later. Criticism was it swept things under the carpet, criminalised and displaced.

      If you’re interested in ‘tipping points’ (or social physics) you should read Critical Mass by Philip Ball, which is fascinating in its brief section in crime and communities.

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