The NPA’s nationally released radio ad campaign encourages residents to contact their local officials to report vandalism and code violations to support ‘broken windows policing’.
The broken windows theory says signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and public disorder create an environment that generates more crime and disorder, including violent crimes. Policing methods that address minor crimes such as vandalism, public drinking, and petty theft creates an atmosphere of order and lawfulness preventing escalation to more serious crimes.
The theory was introduced by social scientists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. A successful strategy for preventing vandalism, per the authors, is to confront problems when they are small. Repair the broken windows quickly and vandals are less likely to do further damage. Clean the sidewalk daily and litter doesn’t accumulate. Crime is less likely to escalate and the neighborhood does not deteriorate.