I chanced upon a very interesting read in The Star a few weeks ago. The writer was quoting a theory explaining why our society is getting very violent and he proposed another theory on how to fix it.
According to the theory, the so called plumbum (Pb) theory, children who were exposed to to leaded petrol would have the tendency to be violent when they reach their youthhood. If you see the clips on YouTube, you can see how brazen and violent criminals can be these days, and some of them barely out of school going age. Researches in America showed there is a significant link between leaded petrol and human behaviour, so said this writer. Use of Unleaded petrol has been enforced in the States in late eighties and twenty years later, the rate of violent crime in America has reduced. I am too sure about this, anyway, since in this country, unleaded petrol was only introduced in the nineties, the violent youth of today is still reeling from the effect of the leaded era. We have to wait probably until 2020 before the unleaded generation will grow up. That is another seven years to go. We cannot wait that long. So, the writer is proposing the Broken Window (BW) theory. You may have seen this, especially in abandoned buildings. If one glass window is broken and left unattended, soon other windows would be broken by whoever takes a fancy in breaking windows. And before long, all the windows would be broken. So the theory postulates further, if the one broken window is quickly fixed, there is a very high chance that all the windows would remain intact. Former mayor of New York, used this theory when dealing with the high crime rate in the city. He made sure that all the small crimes were attended to. Small time crooks were arrested, booked, charged and punished. He did not give them the chance to grow into bigger crimes. Even small time traffic offenders were not spared. Apparently, most criminals starts small with petty thefts, little extortion, bullying etc and if they got away with the crimes, they would be emboldened to do more serious crimes involving more people, creating gangs of hoodlums and before you know it, they were already established as big time criminals. On the other hand, if they know that somebody is out there watching them all the time, their criminal growth would be stifled. True enough, within a few years, New York has become one of the safest city in the world as compared to the frightening image it has a few years back. Then again it takes a lot of guts, bravery, time and dedication to achieve it. So the writer proposed that our police force starts cracking down on this small time offenders before they grow into monsters. Sound too simplistic isn’t it, then again it has been proven to be working in New York>