Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Broken Windows


There's an interesting article over at The National Review Online about the broken window theory of crime reduction, which in short says that quality of life crimes and petty crimes give the impression to bad folks that no one cares and scares good folks into submission. Rudy Giuliani and others applied this principle to clean up The City of New York. That combined with it's obvious effectiveness and ineluctable common sense seems to cause every liberal with a goatee to take a pot shot at the theory, which is more less the point of the NRO article.
I live in West Hartford about a 7/8ths of a mile from Hartford, but in reality I live in different world. Here we have a employer/employee relationship with our police. We pay their salaries and expect them to protect us and our property, and they do a damn fine job. Down the street in Hartford the police are viewed as adversaries and are not trusted. There is more to story than mere geography, there are racial, ethnic, social and economical issues at play here but the bottom line is this: if some drunk was peeing on street in West Hartford he'd have hand cuffs on before he finished. He knows it, we know it, we demand that it be so. In Hartford someone may call the cops on you and they may show up if they're not at a drive by shooting, but chances are you can whiz away with impunity. In Hartford every few weeks or so some yahoo shoots some other yahoo or sadly some innocent bystander or child. Then "community leaders" get 15 seconds of face time on the local news but nothing ever changes. Groups with clever acronyms print up T shirts and decry the violence but nothing ever changes.
Here is my observation and suggestion, when you have a culture that at every turn celebrates, encourages and rewards violent behavior, degrading women, and quick cash through illicit means is it surprising that people, especially young people act out on it? Combine that with a society distrustful of law enforcement and rightfully fearful of criminal retaliation and it's a wonder more people aren't shot in Hartford. I suggest that real community leaders who wish to change the way things are done in Hartford demand that little crimes don't go unchallenged. When kids get caught skipping school it should seem like the end of the world to them. These leaders need to reach out to police, the police in turn need to embed themselves in the community. Then maybe, maybe there might be some change.

1 comment:

Nick said...

If you havent already read freakenomics. It has an interesting chapter on the broken window theory. It is a great book over all, it challenges you to see the world in a new way.