The cracks in ‘broken windows’

Daniel Brook in the Boston Globe:

1140275292_6029_1A crime-fighting theory that says stopping major crimes begins with stopping small ones has influenced policing strategies in Boston and elsewhere since the 1980s. But scholars are starting to question whether fixing broken windows really fixes much at all.

More here.  William Bratton and George Kelling defend “broken windows” in the National Review:

We’ve argued for many years that when police pay attention to minor offenses — such as prostitution, graffiti, aggressive panhandling — they can reduce fear, strengthen communities, and prevent serious crime. One of us co-originated (with James Q. Wilson) this theory, which has come to be known as “fixing broken windows“; the other implemented it in New York City, first as chief of the transit police under Mayor David Dinkins, and then more broadly as police commissioner under Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Yet despite the demonstrable success of this theory, some criminologists and sociologists continue to attack it, with arguments that are factually and philosophically false. Policymakers should not be misled by these misrepresentations into returning our cities to the failed police policies of the past.

More here.  [Photo shows Bratton (on left) as head of the Boston Transit Police in 1983.]