Wilson and Kelling's (1982) broken windows theory (BWT) says that disorder causes crime at the neighborhood level. More specifically, this theory posits that perceptions of disorder increase fear of crime, which then reduces community involvement, making crime more likely. Recent studies show that race plays a pivotal role in people's perceptions of disorder. In short, people tend to associate race with low socioeconomic status, high arrest rates, and lack of policing. Therefore, race plays a central role in the BWT framework as it is linked to perceptions of disorder and crime.
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