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Broken Window Concept - Essay Example

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Broken Window Concept

Signs of this conduct are unrepaired broken windows and graffiti, teen age drunks and young bands. Kelling underlines that securing and propping up informal control mechanisms, through the aggressive policing of disorder and incivilities, constitutes the central means of reversing the spirals of neighborhood breakdown and misbehavior. Society, from this viewpoint, behave to counter the degeneration associated with crime, on the presupposition that it is an inherent capacity of communities to improve their resources of social control. Through informal community controls, it is anticipated that the primary of the normative consensus of the society will be asserted. These ideas connect with, and reflect the influence of, 'broken windows' thesis (kelling 1995). According to this, societies and citizens are seen as occupying an essential role in halting moral decline, the regeneration of neighborhood life, and the prevention of crime, by exerting their moral authority. Societies and individual citizens are identified as a powerful site of social order and control. "For many people, thanks in part to how it has been presented by many police leaders, community policing is viewed as "soft" policing comparable to community relations or, worse yet, social work" (Kelling 1999). 'Community' in this sense is defined negatively, through reference to 'others'. Community members recognize themselves as a collective, as 'us' in contradistinction to 'them'. Consequently, 'insiders' only exist because there are 'outsiders' and so 'community' may be based less on what people share in common than upon their difference in relation to 'others'. 'Community', thus understood, is more than geographic location, it exists where members of a social group feel bound together by shared values or traditions (kelling 1995).
Kelling underlines that the 'broken window' thesis helps police to identify potential criminals and disorderly conduct. For Kelling, degeneration is perceived as both the social cause and the effect of crime and the fear of crime. The link between crime and disorderly conduct is that crime is caused by disorganized societies and it is disorganized societies which create the conditions for crime to grow. The regeneration of societies is the proposed solution to change and reverse the cycle. This process involves a dual understanding of societies. It asserts a definition of society as both a shared locality-in purely geographical terms-and a shared concern or 'sense of community'. It is based on the premise that mere closeness generates shared concern. In this case, "Crime fighting" is inherently passive and reactive policing: patrol in a powerful car, receive a 911 call, turn on flashing lights and siren, speed to the incident, tend to it as quickly as possible" (Kelling 1998, p. 10). Kelling suggests that the combination of individual actions and behavior, together with informal social processes of control to which those acts give rise, will help rebuild and renew a 'sense of community'. Also, 'community' represents a means to an end, and an end in itself. It is both the vehicle to a better life and the better life. In this case, resources and ends have become badly confused. For police and the state, it ...Show more

Summary

The "broken window" concept was developed by G. Kelling. According to this concept, a disorderly behavior is a sign for further crimes and criminal activity. Kelling's 'broken window' thesis deals with informal social control, due to high levels of incivilities and signs of disorder, produces further crime and 'cycles of urban decline' Criminal justice professionals should use this concept to predict and prevent crimes and protect citizens from possible crimes.
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