THE IMPACT OF DISORDER ON FEAR OF CRIME: A TEST OF THE FIRST LINK OF BROKEN WINDOWS
Hinkle, Joshua Conard
Weisbrud, David L
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The broken windows hypothesis (Wilson and Kelling, 1982) suggests that disorder causes fear of crime to increase in a community, starting a chain of events that eventually leads to an increase in crime in the neighborhood. This thesis aims to improve our knowledge of the relationship between disorder and fear of crime in the context of the broken windows hypothesis using a micro-level research design. The results of this study suggest that perceptions of disorder have a strong influence on individual's fear of crime, and that perceptions of disorder appear to mediate the affects of changes in observed measures of actual disorder on fear. This suggests that the relationship hypothesized by the broken windows literature may exist, and that police may be able to indirectly reduce fear of crime by reducing disorder. The findings show that this would reduce perceptions of disorder and thereby indirectly reduce fear of crime.