How 'Broken Windows' Helped Shape Tensions Between Police And Communities

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The broken windows theory of policing suggested that cleaning up the visible signs of disorder — like graffiti, loitering, panhandling and prostitution — would prevent more serious crime as well.

As the mayor of New York City, Rudy Giuliani was a proponent of a controversial policing philosophy known as "broken windows." It calls for police to go after small crimes, in hopes of preventing bigger problems.

At first, it appeared as if violent crime dropped in the neighborhoods where "broken windows" policing was in force. The statistics, however, told a different story.

But the idea remains popular, despite evidence it likely had only modest effects.

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