Shrink's Views

ramblings of an unknown psychiatrist

Broken window theory

Posted by Dheeraj Kattula on April 29, 2009

mission-compund-wall

James Q. Wilson and George L.Kelling wrote an article in the March 1982 edition of The Atlantic Monthly titled ‘Broken Windows’. It says:-

“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 squattors or light fires inside.   

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.”

In summary it means that if some one is  ‘in-charge’ then there is less chance for things to go wrong. Let me share an example.

Few weeks ago we white washed our compound.Just outside the gate of the hospital campus, there a notice was written on the wall in Oriya ‘ Please do not urinate here’ . (see the pic)

I have seen this area clean for the first time after about a year of work here. I reasoned it to de due to the newly painted wall and the ‘notice’. When I shared this with my staff, they had a small story to add. It seems even after the notice was put up, a nearby shop keeper was passing urine right under the notice.

One of our staffs asked him, ‘ Hey, Cant you read that? Why are you passing urine here?’

‘Is this your father’s land?’ was the retort.

‘Yup, This land belongs to municipality. So it is my father’s as much as your father’s’ our staff said.

In a short while, a small crowd gathered and took the ‘urinator’ away. Since then no one passes urine near the notice. They do it a couple of feet away ! Officially that area is the rickshaw stand. No one looks after this area. You can see the litter near the place where the hero of the pic is urinating 🙂

No one passes urine near the white washed wall now. They go a bit farther ! Broken window theory is probably right. I have a feeing that in additon to broken windows, windows with cracks need mending too. Also an occasional shout, ‘Who’s there?’ probably also helps !!! 🙂

Reference

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broken_window_theory

Advertisements

2 Responses to “Broken window theory”

  1. Sampras said

    Hey, Dheeraj anna, Very interesting blog you’ve got here.. Broken Window theory huh, 🙂 .. Wonder where all these scientists get ideas for the weirdest of theories!

  2. Dheeraj Kattula said

    Sammy,
    Had a little chat with Jotham this afternoon.He felt this theory is validated by Indians. They follow the rules of ‘not littering’ in the west but when back home they can ‘just do it’ 🙂
    Isn’t it?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: