The Broken Windows theory is the controversial, zero-tolerance policing philosophy introduced by Bill Bratton to the NYPD in the 1990's. The theory purports to prevent serious crimes by aggressively going after minor, petty violations (like a broken window) as a way to deter more serious crimes. However, criminologists and researchers have not been able to prove a real causal link between the theory and declines in crime.
In practice, Broken Windows encourages police to harass, racially profile, entrap, and produce mass police interactions, primarily but not exclusively, in low-income Black and Latino communities. This is often fueled by the NYPD's well-known quota system and results in mass arrests, mass summonses, lost work days, jail time, barriers to housing, loss of child custody and even deportations.
What Are "Broken Windows" Offenses?
Offenses which "Broken Windows" policing targets includes, but is not limited to:
Coalition to End Broken Windows Brochure