Broken Window

Topics: Stanford prison experiment, Graffiti, Theory Pages: 2 (650 words) Published: October 1, 2012
Broken Windows

Disorder is defined as the disruption of peaceful and law-abiding behavior. Malcolm Gladwell uses this word to explain the cause of chaos and epidemic when it comes to crime in cities. In Gladwell’s passage, The Power of Context, he describes disorder as an epidemic which results from a small, single event, referred to as the “broken window” and which can instigate and influence the behaviors of those in the community. In the Power of Context, Gladwell describes disorder as something that can start from a single event, which he refers to as the “broken window”. This theory also explains how crime can be contagious, just like a fashion trend (Gladwell 237). Gladwell explains that if a single broken window is left unrepaired, bystanders and those walking by will feel tempted to continue to damage the property since the building is left uncared for. Eventually, he explains, “…more windows will be broken, and the sense of anarchy will spread from the building to the street on which it faces, sending a signal that anything goes” (Gladwell 237). Once the deteriorating buildings and the deserted property start to emerge, it will spiral into an epidemic which will result in a city far worse than one with well kept property. This explains how cities can become infested with crime all starting from a single “broken window”. The theory of the Broken Window and the idea of the Power of Context go hand in hand. According to Gladwell, the theory of Broken Windows and the Power of Context both can be changed by a small single event. An example he states to prove this idea is the one of David Gunn’s graffiti clean up. Gunn thought that by painting over vandalized spots around the city would give others the message to keep the environment in that particular fashion. Instead of people getting the idea to vandalize from seeing other vandalized property, Gunn wanted people to see cleaned-up property and get the idea to preserve that nature. Gunn and his people...
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