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Wilson and Kelling:A Broader Notion of Public Order - Book Report/Review Example

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Wilson and Kelling:A Broader Notion of Public Order

ently in fashion. These two academics, Kelling and Wilson, have since then come to be known as advocates of what is known colloquially as the "Broken Windows" approach to policing. Their approach, however, has not been without its detractors; indeed, a multitude of studies, both empirical and descriptive, have been conducted since their ground-breaking article in attempts to either confirm or deny their essential premises. It will begin by dissecting their essential arguments and conclusions before examining how their approach fits within the larger confines of criminology more generally.This article arose from a new policy, the "Safe and Clean Neighborhoods Program", which was conceived of and implemented by the state of New Jersey in the mid-1970s.The basic concept was to place police officers back on walking beats, to bring them into closer contact with the communities and the neighborhoods which they were trained and hired to serve, and to attempt to integrate the police into the communities rather than for them to be perceived as outsiders and threats. It was hoped that this more intimate approach to policing would also decrease crime rates and increase an overall sense of public order and personal security.
These foot patrol policies were to be implemented in twenty-eight cities in New Jersey. Quite predictably, politicians and other interested governmental officials hailed the program. It demonstrated, politically at least, that they were attempting to deal with rising crime rates and public insecurity; the irony was that both police chiefs and rank-and-file police officers resisted and criticized the program. As noted by Wilson and Kelling, "many police chiefs were skeptical. Foot patrol, in their eyes, had been pretty much discredited. It reduced the mobility of the police, who thus had difficulty responding to citizen calls for service, and it weakened headquarters control over patrol officers" (1982). In addition to these policy reasons for resisting a return to foot patrols, many police officers offered less persuasive reasons. They were more comfortable in their cars, it was often cold and rainy in New Jersey, and they were not persuaded that foot patrols would contribute to their policing mission. It was against this backdrop that the program was implemented in twenty-eight cities.
Five years later, the Police Foundation from Washington D.C. conducted a research study to examine the effects of the foot-patrol program in New Jersey. This study selected one city, Newark, and its observations and conclusions were noteworthy. As a preliminary matter, it must be noted that the foot-patrol program, from a superficial point of view, seemed to have been a failure. This is because there was no demonstrable finding that the foot patrols had contributed to decreasing the crime rate in Newark. Once one looks beyond this superficial finding, as Wilson and Kelling did, the observations were quite surprising and optimistic from both the point of view of the residents surveyed and from the point of view of the police officers surveyed. Both, contrary to initial expectations, responded positively to this new approach to polic ...Show more
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That issues involving policing and public order are important is hardly noteworthy;on the other hand,there has been a tremendous amount written about the mechanismsfor putting the most effective and the most efficient type of police force on the street…
Wilson and Kelling:A Broader Notion of Public Order
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