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Political scientist James Q. Wilson dies at 80

March 2, 2012 | 10:23 am

WilsonJames Q. Wilson, a former UCLA and Pepperdine political scientist who studied such varied topics as crime, urban renewal, society’s evolving views of marriage and other family issues, died early Friday at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, according to family friends. He was 80 and had leukemia.

He and his colleague George L. Kelling were known for their early 1980s “broken windows” theory that communities and local police must value public order and public safety if they wish to prevent a rise in crime.

A Denver native who grew up in Southern California, Wilson attended the University of Redlands and the University of Chicago before beginning his teaching career at Harvard. He also spent time as a scholar at UCLA and Pepperdine and most recently taught at Boston College.

Wilson, a regular contributor to The Times' editorial pages, described himself in a 2007 interview as more conservative than most academics but more liberal than the country as a whole.

A full obituary will follow at Latimes.com/obits.


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-- Claire Noland

Photo: James Q. Wilson in 2007. Credit: Ken Hively / Los Angeles Times