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Criticism of the theory has tended to focus disproportionately on the latter claim.
The theory emphasizes the built environment, but must also consider human behavior.
Under the impression that a broken window left unfixed leads to more serious problems, residents begin to change the way they see their community.
Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. A 1996 criminology and urban sociology book, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L.
Kelling and Catharine Coles, is based on the article but develops the argument in greater detail.
Newman says this is a clear sign that the society has accepted this disorder—allowing the unrepaired windows to display vulnerability and lack of defense.
The theory thus makes two major claims: that further petty crime and low-level anti-social behavior is deterred, and that major crime is prevented as a result.
Newman proposes that people care for and protect spaces they feel invested in, arguing that an area is eventually safer if the people feel a sense of ownership and responsibility towards the area.
Broken windows and vandalism are still prevalent because communities simply do not care about the damage.
As rowdy teenagers, panhandlers, addicts, and prostitutes slowly make their way into a community, it signifies that the community cannot assert informal social control, and citizens become afraid that worse things will happen.
As a result, they spend less time in the streets to avoid these subjects and feel less and less connected from their community if the problems persist.