Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs

Stefano Bloch – Breaking Broken Windows: Graffiti/Violent Crime Correlation in Providence

Thursday, April 14, 2016

12:00pm – 1:30pm

McKinney Conference Room

Lunch will be provided. 

The misreading of graffiti by law enforcement acting under the influence of the broken windows theory of policing has resulted in a disproportionate enforcement of quality of life laws in Latino/a communities, resulting in the criminalization and often erroneous labeling of Latino/a youth as gang members. 

To test the relationship between gang territoriality, violent crime, and apparent disorder in the form of graffiti, Professor Bloch, along with Dr. Yesim Sungu in Urban Studies, have over the past two years led over 100 Brown University undergraduates across Providence to methodically survey, categorize, and map incidents of graffiti against hot spots of violent crime provided by the Providence Police Department. Professor Bloch will discuss their findings and present a theory of graffiti that is often overlooked in research on crime.

Stefano Bloch is an urban geographer specializing in social and spatial theory, cultural criminology, visual culture and subcultures. His current research and teaching focuses on policing, criminality, spatial justice, and contemporary U.S urbanism. Bloch also teaches "Introduction to Geography" at the Rhode Island Department of Corrections Men's Facility, and is an expert on the identification, contextualization, and history of American graffiti, street art, and Chicano/a gang territoriality.

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