Broken Windows Policing


Effective November 7, 2011 Dr. George Kelling, an executive on loan from the Manhattan Institute, has been assigned to work with the Detroit Police Department for a period of 18 months. Dr. Kelling will assist the Department and its leadership in direct problem solving and the implementation of “broken windows” policing strategies, particularly in defined target areas as outlined by Chief Ralph Godbee. Dr. Kelling’s primary interest is in the identification of problems and the development of tactics to deal with those problems, using the strategies that he and others developed to support the theory of ‘broken windows’ policing.

Dr. George Kelling

Dr. Kelling is a graduate of St. Olaf College (B.A.), the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (M.S.W.), and the University of Wisconsin-Madison (Ph.D.). He is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and recently retired as a professor in the School of Criminal Justice at Rutgers University. Formerly he was a professor in criminal justice at Northeastern University and a fellow in the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has practiced social work as a childcare worker, a probation officer, and has administered residential care programs for aggressive and disturbed youths. In 1972, Kelling began work at the Police Foundation and conducted several large-scale experiments, most notably the Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment and the Newark Foot Patrol Experiment. The latter was the source of his contribution to his most familiar publication in the Atlantic, “Broken Windows,” with James Q. Wilson.

During the late 1980s, Kelling developed the order maintenance policies in the New York City subway that ultimately led to radical crime reductions. Later, he consulted with the New York City and Los Angeles Police Departments under William Bratton. His most notable recent major publication is Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities that he has published with his wife, Catherine M. Coles.

Dr. Kelling has lectured, consulted, and conducted research in cities throughout the United States as well as in South and Central America, Europe, Japan, and Australia.

Currently, Kelling is working on two books, The Rediscovery of Policing, with William Bratton and Milwaukee and Police Reform with Catherine Coles and consulting with the Milwaukee Police Department under Edward Flynn.


New York
Just 20 years ago, New York City was racked with crime: murders, burglaries, drug deals, car thefts, thefts from cars. (Remember the signs in car windows advising no radio?) Unlike many cities’ crime problems, New York’s were not limited to a few inner-city neighborhoods that could be avoided. Bryant Park is in the heart of midtown and adjacent to the New York Public.

New York’s drop in crime during the 1990s was correspondingly astonishing—indeed, “one of the most remarkable stories in the history of urban crime,” according to University of California law professor Franklin Zimring. While other cities experienced major declines, none was as steep as New York’s. Most of the criminologists’ explanations for it—the economy, changing drug-use patterns, demographic changes—have not withstood scrutiny. Readers of City Journal will be familiar with the stronger argument that the New York Police Department’s adoption of quality-of-life policing and of such accountability measures as Compstat was behind the city’s crime drop. Read the full story.

Related Stories
The Police and Neighborhood Safety: Broken Windows
The Broken Windows Theory and what it means for improving a neighborhood
Fewer Broken Windows, and a Decline in Crime
Broken Windows