Theories on Why Crime Occurs Essay

1300 Words 6 Pages
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
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. Broken windows theory suggests that one broken window will lead to another through social disorder. Their theory suggested that unaddressed disorder could potentially lead to a rise in the fear of crime; the rise in fear causes the community to withdraw and take precautions or stop using community areas. The result is a decline and breakdown of community controls, which leads to more serious crimes and disorder. Famous psychologist Philip Zimbardo provided an experiment in 1969 that supported the idea of broken windows, before the theory had been constructed. Zimbardo left a car without a license plate and popped hood unattended in the Bronx in New York City, within 10 minutes the car was raided by vandals, Zimbardo did the same in Palo Alto,…