The Broken Window Theory Applied to Pornographers

Jul 23, 2013

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Broken Window

I recently saw a compelling article in a local newspaper discussing the Broken Window theory, applied to the pornography industry.

Developed over 30 years ago, the Broken Window theory suggests that if police focus on stopping crime, even smaller crimes such as breaking windows on abandoned buildings, then overall crime rates will decrease as well.  Why is that? Criminals will sense that crime prevention, large or small, is important to local police and will be deterred from committing even minor offenses.

Could the Broken Window theory apply to pornography distribution?

The harmful effects caused by pornography are documented. However, many Americans view the issue with apathy.  Up to 43 million people view pornography each month.

I believe some of the apathy stems partially from an indifferent Department of Justice and state and local attorneys general and district attorneys. If these groups were to act by prosecuting smaller indecency offenses, perhaps behaviors and attitudes would improve overall.  The Department of Justice has not filed a single obscenity case since 2010.

Former presidents Regan and Bush applied the Broken Window theory 20 years ago. They prosecuted adult obscenity without hesitation, resulting in hard-core adult pornographers backing down. The threat of prison became more important than making money, implying the effectiveness of the Broken Window theory.

However, not much is being done today to prosecute pornographers. Adult porn, which most people think is legal, can still prosecuted under Supreme Court obscenity laws dating back to 1973.

To protect innocent victims, including victims of child pornography and sex trafficking, prosecution efforts must increase and focus on those producing pornography and indecent materials at any level, great or small.

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