Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department or Program



Whaley, Rachel B


How do Chicago residents feel about police, crime, and disorder? Using qualitative interviews with 20 Chicago residents, this study examines the ways Chicago residents perceive and feel about police, crime, and disorder in their neighborhoods. The relationship between perceptions of police, crime, and disorder is compared to the way it is framed in the broken windows theory by Wilson and Kelling (1982). The first research question addresses how residents understand the relationship between police officers, policing, and crime in their Chicago neighborhoods. The second research question focuses on how residents understand the relationship between disorder, other neighborhood characteristics, and crime. Results suggest that participants feel police are of no help and cause them anxiety. Also relating to police and crime, participants felt very neutral on their opinion of police, while showing that they are also desensitized to the crime around them. Results also show that perceptions of disorder vary, and that gentrification and residential instability influence perceptions of disorder and crime.