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Literature & Language
Article Critique
English (U.S.)
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Power Of Context: Broken Window And Epidemic Theories (Article Critique Sample)


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Power of Context
Malcolm Gladwell, in his article, developed the Broken Window and Epidemic theories to explain the onset and the predisposing factors to crime in society. Criminologist James Wilson and George Kelling developed the two theories through three principles that stated that epidemics are contagious, little things have a significant influence and changes occur in dramatic moments. His conclusion was that through these perspectives; he was able to discern that crime occurs due to the presence of chaos. The essay will study the two theories while establishing whether crime is contagious.
According to criminologists James and George, the theory of Broken Window argue that crime is a byproduct of disarray in the society whereby, if a broken window in a building remained unrepaired for a while, passersby would consider this as a lack of someone who cares and lack of authority over it. Subsequently, future disorderly behavior towards the building such as additional broken windows would occur without any power to stop it. For instance, they observed that muggers and robbers were more likely to take positions within the cities in streets whereby robbery was most prevalent due to a belief that potential victims and passerby were less likely to interfere with a mugging or call the police.
Maxwell documents the 1980s New York, marred by the graffiti paintings on the subway, criminal activities and passengers fare-beating. Consequently, the New York Transit Authority employed Kelling as an expert to put into practice this theory (Gladwell 154). He applied the concept of The Power of Context, which asserts that the little things brought on significant changes. Consequently, he instituted the cleaning off the graffiti, introduced police officers to curb the vice of fare-beating, while arresting criminal offenders with weapons, outstanding warrants, those who urinated on the streets and repeat offenders. All these strategies were effective and by 1994, crime ra

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