Sunday, September 6, 2015

Private conflict stronger predictor of crime than broken window theory

In a recently published study, Northeastern University assistant professor Daniel T. O’Brien offered a new model for advancing the study of neighborhood dynamics, reported Phys.com. He leveraged Big Data to shed new light on what factors predict crime in urban neighborhoods, finding that private conflict—not public disorder—is a strong indicator.
The traditional "broken windows theory" goes that acts of public disorder in neighborhoods—such as graffiti, litter, and abandoned homes—can encourage future crime there. But now research led by O'Brien has shed new light on the factors that predict crime in urban neighborhoods. The researchers found that, in fact, private conflict may be a stronger predictor of in a community.
"Our research suggests that the 'broken windows model' doesn't effectively capture the origins of crime in a neighborhood," O'Brien said. "What's happening is that violent crime is bubbling out from the social dynamics of the community, out from these private conflicts that already exist, and then is escalating and spilling into public spaces."

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