The Broken Glass Theory and Its Impact on Community Policing, Research Paper Example

It was 1969 when Wilson and Kelling first introduced the idea behind the Broken Glass theory as it is to be applied in community policing. This theory entails that the condition of thinking of a person is specifically affected by the thinking of another. Considerably, in the process of studying the effect of the said approach to understanding human behavior, it was observed that people respond to norms especially when they come to a point of deciding what to do on certain occasions presented to them. The thought that ‘no one cares’ lowers down the condition of thinking of a person towards what he does whether or not it is the right thing to do. Because of this, tolerance increases and people begin to view the law as a weak force that defines the community. Of course, individuals would settle for something that is more convenient for them give attention to. If for instance the law is to strict, but the norm is quite more convenient, then they would settle for the condition of following what the norms dictate to be considerably acceptable.

The founders of the broken glass theory specifically imposes that in the process of healing a community [closely related to the condition of a broken glass], it is important to note that the need to reverse the situation is essential. The establishment of communal responsibility and civility is important in relation to this process. This basically involves reestablishing the backbones of the common social norms that are existing in the society at present. In the aim of considering the case of one community alone, it is important to understand that what one sees, one does. Hence, if an officer tries to manifest a sense of control through building up a culture of respect and concern for others, through time, others will follow. Nevertheless, it takes more than one man to make the change and affect others. Broken glasses do not get fixed by themselves; in a way, these glasses need to be given particular attention to and should be specifically given time for everything to be back to normal. The same is true in terms of community policing.

Applying legal sanctions is often observed by others as a form of containment especially when it comes to controlling the crimes that occur in a society. Nevertheless, it is argued through the Broken Glass theory that such action is not necessary especially when it comes to manifesting the thinking process and behavioral development of the people as they see their surroundings. This is the reason why the application of programs that improve and promote police visibility in most populated areas is strongly being suggested as a form of effective community policing. Knowing that there is an authority or there are authorities standing by, people are reminded to look through their actions and be mindful as to how they are affecting others around them.

When applying such approach to policing, officers must be able seek how to understand the actual condition of the society they are intending to handle. Relatively, this would indicate how much control a particular community needs in comparison with others. Through this observational research, officers would be able to understand how they are to distribute the forces who are to attend to a particular community depending on the need of such areas for authoritative surveillance. The idea of prevention is always better than cure also applies to this condition of policing. The more the police officers are who are found at an attention stance in particular corners and areas in a community, the more aware the people would be hence also lessening the chances of criminalities occurring within the said areas concerned. Through this, policing would be dedicated to more social management than on providing reprimand to criminals offending the law.

References:

Johnson, Bruce D.; Golub, Andrew, McCabe, James (1 February 2010). “The international implications of qualityoflife policing as practiced in New York City”. Police Practice and Research 11 (1): 17–29.

Gau, J. M., & Pratt, T. C. (2010). Revisiting Broken Windows Theory: Examining the Sources of the Discriminant Validity of Perceived Disorder and Crime. Journal Of Criminal Justice, 38(4), 758-766.

Keizer, K; Lindenberg, S; Steg, L (2008). “The Spreading of Disorder”. Science 322 (5908): 1681–5.

Roberts, Dorothy (Spring 1999). “Foreword: Race, Vagueness, and the Social Meaning of Order-Maintenance Policing”. The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology. 3 89: 775–836.