Saturday, March 04, 2006

Sweating the little things isn't always bad

Arts and Letters Daily has links to two articles that debate the effectiveness of the "broken windows" approach to crime fighting, which is based on having the police pay more attention to misdemeanors, such as "loud parties, unleashed dogs, public drinking, and even littering".

I have no idea how effective this approach is in reducing serious crime. However, I think it's not a bad idea for the simple reason that it might make people more civil. And that's something that's sorely needed in Boston, where the pendulum of individual rights vrs communal obligation has definitely swung a bit too far to the "It's a free country and I can do what I want" side. Actually, it may not even have as much to do with people explicitly asserting their liberties as it has with them just being oblivious to the fact that, oh, dropping trash in the middle of the street when there's a garbage can 10 feet away, or singing [badly and loudly] on a crowded commuter train might just be, y'know, not very "considerate of other people".

I never knew I was such a "people suck" curmudgeon until I moved to Boston. At least I think of it in terms of "Back in Seattle ..." instead of "Back in my day ...".


Anonymous PhilipJ said...

I assume the way people act in Seattle is roughly comparable to the way people act here in Vancouver, and having moved here from a smaller city on the East coast of Canada, I often catch myself thinking of "Back in Newfoundland...". I guess its all relative to what you knew! :)

4:53 PM  

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