In 1969, a group of graduate students had a great time smashing up a car. Their very strange psychology experiment is responsible for some of the most racist policing practices in America today. How did the broken windows theory go from textbooks to police departments? And will we ever know what actually solved America’s biggest crime wave?
Content note: This episode discusses a lot of racist practices specifically targeting Black, Latino, and other marginalized groups in America.
Featured image: An old building with broken windows. (Image source)
Empty and damaged housing in Chicago’s South Side in 1973. (Image source)
Stencils on an abandoned building in the South Bronx, NY in 1980. Artist John Fekner. (Image source)
A protestor against the NYPD’s use of broken windows theory in policing in 2014. (Image source)
Protestors at the No NYC Hypocrisy rally in New York City in 2017. (Image source)
Sources about the broken windows theory and other sociological and psychological theories
- Broken windows theory
- The real lessons of the Stanford Prison Experiment
- Professor Emerita Christina Maslach recalls famous prison study, now a movie
- How A Theory Of Crime And Policing Was Born, And Went Terribly Wrong
- The Human Choice: Individuation, Reason, and Order versus Deindividuation, Impulse, and Chaos
- The Broken Windows Theory
- The Bratton Resignation
- Break the ‘broken windows’ spell
Sources about the crime wave
- The Crime Machine
- Homicide Trends in the United States, 1980-2008
- United States Crime Rates 1960 – 2019
- What the data says (and doesn’t say) about crime in the United States
- Why We Can’t Be Sure If Violent Crime Is On The Rise
- National and Local War on Crime
- A History of the Drug War
- Annual Stop-and-Frisk Numbers
- Is Stop-and-Frisk Unconstitutional?
- What Caused the Great Crime Decline in the U.S.?
Sources about the infrastructure and demographics of inner-city neighborhoods
- “White flight” to the suburbs: A demographic approach
- Automobiles in the Postwar Economy
- Seattle History Lessons – The Story of I-5
- The GM Trolley Conspiracy: What Really Happened
- The forgotten history of how automakers invented the crime of “jaywalking”
- The ecology of food desert
- The Second Great Migration
- When homeowners associations were first created, they helped keep Black people out of the neighborhood. They’re still doing it today.
- A ‘Forgotten History’ Of How The U.S. Government Segregated America
- Ghettos, Segregation, & Poverty in the 1960s
- Public Housing History
- How the Great Inflation of the 1970s Happened
- What Are Gentrification and Displacement