September 16, 2023, will mark 48 years of independence for Australia’s nearest neighbour – Papua New Guinea (PNG). And, by smaller measure, 29 years since the scholar James Q Wilson’s landmark article – featured in New York’s Commentary magazine – What to do about crime. Wilson himself was a landmark scholar – a recipient of the Presidential of Freedom under President George W Bush, and additionally authoring the famous ‘Broken windows’ theory of crime with the late George L Kelling.
This odd mashing of historical events becomes relevant when examining PNG’s horrific recent transmissions of crime and violence.
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