Professor Says "Broken Windows" Policing Has Hidden Costs

As community leaders, activists and authorities in Ferguson, Missouri continue to try to resolve an ongoing, tense situation there, scholars in the field of Criminal Justice are taking a close look at how this and other conflicts have developed.

The police shooting of an unarmed black man on August 9th led to the Ferguson confrontations and added to anger already rising over other incidents where black men have been injured and in some cases killed. 

One such case is the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island in New York last month. Garner died in a chokehold – strangled after police grabbed him for selling untaxed cigarettes.   The incident was recorded and the video has been widely viewed on You Tube. 

Professor Babe Howell teaches Criminal Law at CUNY,  the City University of New York.   She sees “Broken Window Policing,” a law enforcement policy of hyper-vigilance on small crimes, as one element driving this recent wave of high profile incidents.  Howell has written a book called “Broken Lives from Broken Windows: The Hidden Costs of Aggressive Order-Maintenance Policing”. 

Professor Howell talked with KFAI’s Robert Easley, who asked her to define “broken window policing.” 


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