Tuesday, March 13, 2012

James Q. Wilson author of Broken Windows Theory dies

James Q. Wilson died last week at the age of 80.  According to the New York Times he was unquestionably the pre-eminent political scientist of the last 50 years. He was best known the now famous crime eradication theory “broken windows."

The broken windows theory was first introduced by social scientists Wilson and George L. Kelling in an article titled "Broken Windows" and which appeared in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly. According to Wikipedia, the article title comes from the following example:
Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.
The broken window theory makes a simple straight forward claim: prevent petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior, and the result will be that major crime will be prevented.

To read more:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/11/opinion/sunday/remembering-james-q-wilson.html

1 comment:

Unknown said...

An honest, unbiased, go with the results social scientist and policy analyst. Pat Moynihan was right when he told President Nixon that Dr. Wilson was the smartest and most worth listening to academic on public policy in the country. When you combine intelligence and piercing curiosity for sensible answers with total intellectual honesty and integrity you have a historic gift of wisdom in social science and academia we rarely see.
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