George Kelling—who along with James Wilson revolutionized American law enforcement with their "broken windows" theory of policing—died in his New Hampshire home on Wednesday. He was 83 years old.
According to the New York Times, Kelling and Wilson argued in a 7,000-word article in The Atlantic in 1982 that even "one unrepaired broken window is a signal that no one cares" in a community, and that such neglect could lead to unbridled disorder.
The theory put forth by Kelling and Wilson had a significant impact on policing in the United States, as agencies such as New York and Los Angeles began putting into place community policing strategies aimed at improving the overall well-being of troubled neighborhoods.
William Bratton who served during his career as the police commissioner of New York City, Boston police commissioner, and chief of police in Los Angeles, said in a recent interview that Kelling had "been the most profound influence on American policing in the last 40 or 50 years."
Kelling is survived by his wife, two children, and four grandchildren.