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B.C. Scholar James Q. Wilson Dies. His Theories Led To Community Policing

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james q wilson

BOSTON (AP) — Political scientist James Q. Wilson, whose “broken windows” theory on crime-fighting helped trigger a nationwide move toward community policing, died Friday at a Boston hospital. He was 80.

A hospital spokeswoman said Wilson died at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. Wilson was being treated for leukemia, according to Peter Skerry, a family friend and Boston College political science professor.

Wilson wrote or co-authored more than a dozen books on various topics, but his study of police work and the importance of quickly attacking even small signs of disorder have resonated for decades. He was a distinguished scholar in Boston College’s political science department at the time of his death.

The ideas in his 1982 “Broken Windows” article in The Atlantic influenced successful community policing efforts in cities including New York and Los Angeles. Last month, Detroit announced it was beginning its own initiative.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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