Environmental Crime


Which place looks more likely to have a
high crime rate?

Wilson and Kelling (1982) - Broken Windows
“the most influential single article on crime prevention
ever” - Downes 1999.
1. What do Wilson and Kelling use the phrase “broken
windows” to represent?
2. What crimes are included in the phrase?
3. What effects do these have on the community?

In broken windows neighbourhoods...
There is a lack of two things. What are they?

Formal and Informal control
Formal - the police. They are only concerned with large
scale serious crimes and ignore the petty crimes. This
leaves the rest of the community feeling vulnerable and
Informal - the community. Respectable people move out
when the state of the community starts to decline. The
area becomes magnets for deviants.

The problem is that disorder and the absence of control
leads to crime.
What is the solution?

1. Environmental improvement strategy
2. Zero tolerance policing

Environmental Improvement strategy
A broken window must be repaired immediately,
abandoned cars must be towed away. If not, the mentality
of the residence means that they will follow the disrepair
of its neighbourhood and the quality of the town will

Zero Tolerance Policing
Instead of reacting to crime, they need to proactively
tackle the slightest problem, even if it is not criminal. It
will stop serious crime happening and settling in the area.
This has been very influential globally and has had an
impact on the UK - especially with labour’s anti social
behaviour policies.

What are the problems with these two
Environmental improvement

Zero Tolerance Policing

New York - “Clean car Program” - on the subway, the carriages were taken off
of the tracks until they were clean if they had graffiti on them. Graffiti
reduced as a result. This also worked with fare evasion, drug dealing and

Between 1993 and 1996 (when the initiatives were put in place) crime fell
significantly. The number of murders fell from 1,927 to 986 - 50%.

Are these statistics reliable?
- the NYPD had 7,000 extra officers during this time
- There was a general decline in crime of the other
major cities including those without ZTP.
- There was a decline in the availability of cocaine
- Deaths from murders reduced but attempted murder
stayed high.

Anti social behaviour has become a problem in
Chelmsley Wood shopping centre. The police don’t
know what to do. Write a letter to the local MP
explaining the different options they have.
Make sure you include:
the different strategies they could use
evidence as to how it is effective
any potential problems you foresee

Read Item A below and answer the question that follows.
Item A
Some commentators argue that harm to the environment is an inevitable part
of late modern society. Since no laws are broken, they do not consider it to
be a crime. For others, the harm we do to the environment, often in the name
of progress, is not just damage but green crime. Environmental damage does
not respect national borders. There are many different types of green crime,
all of which are related to human activities.
Using material from Item A and elsewhere, assess sociological explanations
for the types and patterns of green crime.