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Public and Private Spheres of Neighborhood Disorder: Assessing Pathways to Violence Using Large-scale Digital Records

By Daniel Tumminelli O’Brien & Robert J. Sampson

Study: Despite much research, the body of work on broken windows theory
leaves open the central question: Does disorder contribute to the ongoing
decline of a neighborhood? And, if so, through what behavioral and social
pathways does it do so? The contribution of the present article is to introduce a novel data source to addressing this question. As we discuss more
in the next section, the advent of large administrative data sources, referred
to popularly as ‘‘big data,’’ provides for detailed assessments of various
components of disorder across time and space, and hence the opportunity
to track them longitudinally in relation to cycles of violence, potentially
shedding new light on the predictive analytics of broken windows.

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