Broken Windows or Broken Society?

After my post, “Think Globally, Live Locally”, the broken window theory was brought to my attention. If you haven’t read that post go check it out to give a little preface to what I am about to talk about.

The main idea of the broken window theory is that if a building or car has broken windows people are more likely to start vandalizing the property. In other terms, you could say that if something looks abandoned and uncared for, people will be more likely to mistreat and vandalize it.

On a bigger scale when a town is already run down, with visible evidence of drug use, prostitution, vandalism and other crime, the crime rate will progressively increase. This environment attracts more crime. People stop caring about things once the newness wears off, why fix what’s broken when you can just start over?

Not getting rid of the vandalism, is counter intuitive. If the damage is still existent, whatever is build next to it will quickly deal with the repercussions of the abandoned or vandalized properties around it. It will become run down as well and the problem will only keep spreading. If we were to clean up the existing properties rather than building new buildings, it may help to drive out the crime.

While this theory has a pretty valid point, I’m not sure I’m sold. People are creatures of habit, meaning once something gets started it’s hard to fix it. Crime is everywhere, but in lower income areas, it is often worse. No matter the location though, one of the best ways to prevent this from persisting is to raise our children to respect the world around them, and to set a good example with our own actions. Raising the next generation to be kind to others and the planet will help create a better world for generations to come.


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