During remarks in a Monday address in Minneapolis, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions advocated a return to anti-crime strategies including “broken windows” and forfeitures.
While outlining a litany of societal problems including the opioid crisis, violent crime, gang violence, human trafficking and illegal immigration, Sessions told a gathering of prosecutors with the National District Attorneys Association:
“We must encourage proven police techniques like community-based, proactive policing and ‘broken windows’ policies that are lawful and proven to work.”
Introduced in 1982 by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, the theory holds urban order is maintained through the rigorous enforcement of “quality of life” statutes such as vandalism, public intoxication, disorderly conduct and vagrancy.
Basing their conclusions on a New Jersey policing program in the 1970s, called “Safe and Clean Neighborhoods” Wilson and Kelling hypothesized in the March 1982 issue of The Atlantic areas “vulnerable to criminal invasion” begin with a lax enforcement of quality of life laws.
Wilson and Kelling argued when such offenses are ignored, violent crime rises.
Broken windows was utilized in New York City during the two terms Rudolph Giuliani served as mayor and is credited with the great reductions in crime between 1993–2001.
Despite success in the Big Apple, critics charged the policy infringed on civil liberties and was racially biased.
[RT America] [The Atlantic] [Photo courtesy Scoopnest]