Broken Windows Ideology and the (Mis)Reading of Graffiti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this article, I discuss the misreading of graffiti and misidentification of graffiti writers as part of anti-gang policing informed by broken windows ideology. Based on personal observation and autoethnographic reflection, analysis of gang identification protocol, and interviews with graffiti writers who negatively define themselves against gang members as part of constructive identity formation, I argue that relying on graffiti as an indicator of gang activity calls into question the merits and efficacy of anti-gang policing. I situate this discussion within a cultural criminological framework and critique of broken windows policing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-720
Number of pages18
JournalCritical Criminology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2020
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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