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  • Do broken windows really predict neighborhood crime?

    WBUR - 08/18/2015

    Can a broken window really predict crime?

    That’s the idea behind the “Broken Windows” theory. The theory goes that areas with a lot of public disorder — trash, ruined cars, broken lights — are also those plagued by public violence.

    But according to the Boston Area Research Initiative, at least in Boston, it turns out that’s not quite the case. A better predictor of violent crime is actually private disorder — things like domestic abuse and landlord/tenant disputes, according to Daniel O’Brien, an assistant professor at Northeastern University who completed a study on Boston neighborhoods and crime. He says private crimes appear to spill over into the neighborhoods they inhabit, sometimes with deadly consequences.


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