Disorder in the eye of the beholder: Black and White residents’ perceptions of disorder on high-crime street segments

Joshua C. Hinkle*, Clair White, David Weisburd, Kiseong Kuen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Research Summary: Although broken windows theory has had strong influence on policy and practice in policing, there are still many questions and debates about the nature of disorder itself and, particularly, how people perceive and define it. The current study aims to examine whether Black and White residents living on the same street segments in Baltimore City, Maryland perceive similar levels of social and physical disorder. We find strong and significant differences between Black and White residents after controlling for key sociodemographic variables and street-level covariates. Policy Implications: Our findings suggest that police efforts to reduce disorder are less likely to be noticed by Black residents and that any benefits from targeting disorder may vary across places depending on the racial composition of streets. In this context, police must recognize racial differences in perceptions of disorder when developing disorder policing interventions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)35-61
Number of pages27
JournalCriminology and Public Policy
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 American Society of Criminology.

Keywords

  • broken windows
  • disorder
  • perceptions
  • race
  • street segments

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