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Do you like crime movies? They are awesome! When a crime movie is done well, it keeps you tense to the very end. Do you know why we are so obsessed with crime? - Because it's normal (up to a point). It's part of our daily lives. We read about unbelievable scenes in the news, and we can't help but think that they would make great movies.
Michael Mantell, a corporate and clinical psychologist, explained the psychology behind crime obsession in America. The battle between good and evil has been an inspiration since the beginnings of time. When we see crime everywhere around us, it's only natural for us to become interested in it.
This brings us to an important criminologist concept:the broken windows theory. It states that an environment with visible signs of disorder, anti-social behavior, and crime sparks further disorder.
What Does the Broken Windows Theory Say, Exactly?
Before we give you a list of movies inspired by the broken windows theory, let's explain the concept a bit better.
The theory was developed and proposed by two social scientists (George Kelling and James Q. Wilson) in 1982. William Bratton, a New York City police commissioner, developed policies influenced by this theory in the 1990s. When it became linked to community policing, it became quite popular.
The broken windows are used as a metaphor for visible disorder within neighborhoods. To understand the theory in depth, you can read sample academic essays at https://eduzaurus.com/free-essay-samples/broken-windows-theory/. This social theory is a big inspiration for psychology, sociology, and crime essays in colleges. Professors like teaching about it, since it makes a lot of sense. It tackles the link between crime and incivility in a particular community. If the environment is not controlled, it leads to more crime, which can become serious.
As a police commissioner and a chief of the NYC transit police, Bratton translated the theory into practice. The police started sanctioning street prostitution, public drinking, all kinds of disorderly behavior, and even unsolicited windshield washing.
Let's face it: you can learn about the theory and the practices behind it from books and websites, but movies will teach you better.
Top Movies Inspired by the Broken Windows Theory
Straight Outta Compton
Everyone who's been introduced into the hip hop culture knows about N.W.A (Niggaz Wit Attitudes). The group's members were Ice Cube, Eazy-E, MC Ren, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, and Arabian Prince. It was active for only four years (1987-1991), but N.W.A is still labeled as one of the greatest hip hop groups in the history of music.
Straight Outta Comptonwas their first studio album. It's also the name of the movie that depicts the lives of the group's members in the mean streets of Los Angeles.
Yes; the movie depicts the culture that arises from neighborhoods with visible disorder. But it gives us another important aspect of the broken windows theory: the attitude of the police towards the citizens coming from these neighborhoods.
A Clockwork Orange
Admit it: you thought of this movie from the first moment we mentioned the theory. This is Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, based on a novel by Anthony Burgess. The dystopian, criminogenic environment sparks youth gangs and antisocial delinquents to indulge in the most disturbing violent behavior we've seen in film.
Alex's band goes on a crime spree of rape, torture, and other types of violence that are disturbing and horrifying to watch. Would a dystopian society lead to such reality? According to the broken windows theory, it definitely could.
Michelle Pfeiffer is gorgeous in this movie. She plays the character of an ex-Marine, who chose teaching as her civilian profession. She is sent to an inner-city high school, which has an already established culture of antisocial behavior.
The city's poor area is a clear presentation of the broken windows theory. The students are rebels. They've grown up in an area driven by criminal behavior, and they learned to see it as normal. The teacher has unconventional methods to show them that they can break the vicious circle.
The soundtracks by Coolio, Bob Dylan, and Stevie Wonder make this movie a joy to watch.
Did You Get Inspired for a Movie Night?
The broken windows theory came out as an explanation for the origins of criminal behavior. However, it went terribly wrong when it was turned into a concept of policing.
These movies inspire some thinking. If the polices focuses on misdemeanor instead of serious crime, why should we wait for the misdemeanor in the first place?
BIO: Emma Rundle loves watching movies and writing about them. She gets deeper into the plot, trying to see the creator's inspiration. Emma blogs about movies and shares writing tips for students.