broken windows theory

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Vandalized windows in abandoned housing

Alternative forms[edit]


After article propounding the theory by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, “Broken Windows”, Atlantic Monthly (March 1982).

Proper noun[edit]

broken windows theory

  1. (criminology) A criminological theory stating that signs of urban decay (e.g. broken windows, graffiti) signal that an area is not monitored, encouraging more destructive criminal behavior.