FOOD FOR THOUGHT: Crime A Worry, But ‘Quality Of Life’ Of Greater Concern

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Crime A Worry,
But ‘Quality Of Life’
Of Greater Concern

I revisited (social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling’s 1982 article, “Broken Windows,” in the Atlantic) because I was trying to solve a mystery. On a recent reporting trip to New York City to ask bankers, policy analysts and real estate brokers about the city’s economic future, I kept hearing that crime was a major risk.

…When I probed, I found that they talked less about violent crime than disorder. Homeless encampments were flourishing, panhandling had become more aggressive, and minor crimes like public urination or open drug use were not just more visible, but making the papers.

The summer had brought looting and riots close to home as well. Moreover, many of them saw this as a result of the city’s deliberate decision to ignore the “quality of life” offenses that broken windows had emphasized.

Megan McArdle
Washington Post, March15, 2021


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