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Theories on Why Crime Occurs Essay

Decent Essays
Criminological theories have been used on a micro and macro level scale in order to search for an answer as to why people commit crimes. The broken windows theory and routine activity theory have been selected as the two theories provide different perspectives as to why crime occurs, and how to solve crime. The theories will be examined in order get a historical origins, outline main principles, distinguishing characteristics, misconceptions and critaziams of each theory.
Broken Window Theory
Origins
James Wilson and George Kelling originally developed broken windows theory as a hypothesis in their 1982 article in the Atlantic: The police and neighborhood safety, the idea was later expanded by George Kelling and Catherine Coles.
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Broken windows theory also acknowledges the difference in expected and acceptable behavior in differing areas, weather it be a public park, mall, residential area or police station (Wagers, Sousa, & Kelling, 2008, p.254). The theory also accounts for the different levels of disorder within neighborhoods, and the coping ability of neighborhoods, Wilson and Kelling explain that a rich neighborhood like the Harvard square could easily deal with disorder as it is not a norm, and there are mechanisms in place to manage disorder, like “disapproval of anti social behavior, intervention to mediate fights, discouragement of truancy, the presence of capable guardians, neighborhood design and uses of public spaces” (Wagers, Sousa, & Kelling, 2008, p.259).
Distinguishing Characteristics Broken windows theory is a unique theory of crime, as it outlines the cause of crime, and swiftly provides the solution to solve the problem in neighborhoods with low to high crime rates. The most distinguishing feature of broken windows theory is that it relies on police vigilance to maintain order, a policing strategy known as “quality of life policing” which involves a zero tolerance principle (Sousa and Kelling, 2006, p. 78). Broken windows is an environmental theory of crime, which focuses on criminal actively at the
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