Broken Windows

The broken window theory popular in the 1980s holds that tolerating minor infractions such as broken windows signals permissiveness toward major ones.  The theory can be overstretched and abused, but there seems little doubt that the persistence of obvious defects without repair advertises a climate of neglect.

Exhibit 1:  The main portal sign for the park along the parking circle at the end of Spinnaker Way:

P1020502 (Custom)

This sign has been broken for weeks, if not months.  What kind of impression does this make on park visitors?  Does it give the impression that the City is attentive to its park, is proud of its park, and hastens to repair damage to the park?  I don’t think so.

Exhibit 2, a leash sign:

P1020524 (Custom)

This also was vandalized weeks if not months ago.  It looks like someone pried it off the pole, destroying the top and bottom mounting bolts, and the City then remounted it with a pair of Phillips-head screws drilled through the face.  But there has been no attempt to clean up the tagging.

What good is it to put up new signs on the pavement (See Signs of Concern blog post here) when the destruction of the old signs is tolerated?  What’s the message here?   Can’t the City put forward a better face than this in its largest park?

When obvious, publicly visible intentional damage to park property is tolerated, it invites a festival of graffiti inside the porta-potties (see Stand Up for Sanitary Sit Downs post here) and it sends a message of tolerance toward other acts of vandalism.  Broken windows set the stage for broken public facilities and broken monuments and works of public art.

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