Broken Windows Theory

This theory, developed by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson, explains how lesser crimes, untended areas, blight, graffiti, and other signs of disorder decrease neighborhood residents’ willingness to enforce social order, which in turn leads to more serious crime (Wilson and Kelling, 1982). If police target minor transgressions, they may prevent serious crime from developing in those places.

Crime Opportunity Theory

Crime opportunity theory suggests that when offenders want to commit a crime, they look for an opportunity or a practical target. For example, if a city neighborhood or busy CBD offers no guarded parking or patrolled parking facilities, it may be a prime target for vehicle thefts. These theories, because there may be several crime opportunity theories, rest on a single principle: easy or tempting opportunities entice people into criminal action (Felson and Clarke, 1998). Felson and Clarke (1998), for instance, take the position that “opportunity makes the thief.” But they go further and suggest that no crimes can be understood without taking into consideration settings and opportunities.

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