Carole Kirby’s Aug. 2 letter got me thinking of this:
About 15 years ago New York City had made quite an effort to clean up the city, and its transit cars. It paid off in less littering, less graffiti, less crime.
That evidence helped confirm the merits of the Broken Window Theory, as written up in Wikipedia:
“James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling first introduced the broken windows theory in an article titled “Broken Windows”, in the March 1982 The Atlantic Monthly. The title comes from the following example:
Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.”
In essence, littering and buildings that are eyesores foster more of the same.