Broken Window Theory
Term “Broken Windows” is a metaphor used to describe a certain situation, that is if a window is broken in a house and left unrepaired, people passing by will come to the conclusion that nobody “gives a dam” about the house and the area is fair game, there is nobody in or it is not well looked after. That is why I presume in most areas, especially in estates there is not only a single window broken. It either multiple windows broken or not at all, i.e. “all or nothing”. It is thought that “Former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani adopted the Broken Windows Theory and implemented a community-policing strategy focused on order maintenance”. The mayor had a zero crime policy and cleaned up areas nightly on a regular basis hence they had clean walls, which were clean of graffiti, waste, urine, rubbish, and areas were clean of hustlers, prostitutes, crimminals, etc. And people who committed minor, negligible crimes were arrested and charged, they found out that the incidence of violent crimes decreased. In short when, New York “broken windows” were repaired, significantly crime dropped.
But in reading Freakonomics by Steven D. Levitt an Economics and Stephen J. Dubner a writer both look at the collected data and came to the conclusion that the crime rate did decrease in New York significantly, but it also decreased everywhere else in the USA to some extent in the early 1990s.
Why, they came to the conclusion that the legalisation of Abortion was the main factor and it was said that the states where it was legalised, about 17 years later when the ‘unwanted babies’ came of age to commit crimes there were just not around i.e. they were never born or they had been aborted and hence there was a significant decrease in crime. These ‘unwanted babies’ would have more likely to be born to single mothers, brought up in a family were the were not love or wanted, had a parent who drank a lot was aggressive and beat the child a lot, niether parent would have been skilled or had any form of qualifications leading to low family income, all these factors are associated with high crime rate in a certain area. However, I do not access to the data to confirm their theory but one thing they all agreed is that Mayor Giuliani actions did have an effect on however how minor on decreasing crime rate in New York.
Hence the justification for the attack on Eric Garner on suspicion selling cigarettes to a different culture it might seem OTT but in New York with zero crime policy it was the correction of a broken window. I am not justifying the heavy handiness of the police. But one can see that there is a precedence of the action and it is their policy. But it seems that the Police who are largely white specifically target the black population who have a disproportionate representation of those who commit crimes. Also, there is the fact that Eric was suffering from asthma and his large size made him predisposed to strangulation. Maybe the New York Police has to review their restraining policy and try to recruit more officers from ethnic minority groups.
However, does it seem that the Broken Window theory can be used in the Nigerian content? There are many conditions that the ‘broken windows theory’ can be applied, there is Boko Haram, Buhari ended the Maitatsine crisis in the 1980s and we were told that he wanted to invade Chad, to root them out but Shehu Shagari the then president refused.
Another condition that it can be applied is corruption, those that commit some crimes as 419, Yahoo boys, etc are caught and arrested. Hence, those who loot the treasury will fear they are next. But it seems due to their political contents they are left alone. And if you steal billions you could pay your way out, buying it seems the judge and the police. However, the anti-corruption warrior Buhari, seems to be winning and as in the first time he was head of state, a lot of corrupt officials will be at Nigerian borders. Trying to make their way out of the country… As from his record he is on an anti-corruption mission. This is a man who returns government money that he has no used while others just pocket it. He sought out corruption at every level and had a war against indiscipline. Maybe he is just what we need to fix our broken windows.