Disorder and Decline: The State of Research

Wesley Skogan*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Objectives: A significant and diverse body of research has built up during the 30þ years since the publication of Wilson and Kelling’s seminal ‘‘broken windows’’ article. They affected research, policy, and politics around the world. This article summarizes some of the main strands of research that have since sprung up around these and other claims. Results: This article discusses approaches to conceptualizing and measuring disorder and weighs the strengths and weaknesses of various measurement modalities. It summarizes what this research has revealed about the apparent causes and effects of disorder. Conclusion: Research documents that disorder has broad implications for public health and safety and that it is deeply implicated in the dynamics of neighborhood stability and change. Further, there is evidence that-directly and via its impact on other features of community life-disorder stimulates conventional crime.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)464-485
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 6 2015


  • communities and crime
  • criminological theory
  • fear of crime
  • social disorganization
  • urban crime

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology


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