Broken Windows in OKC
You have no doubt heard of the broken windows theory. Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani made the phrase almost a kitchen table concept that had American cities fronting new battles with unions and labor associations as they all tried to get cops of the cars and force a more comprehensive responsibility upon public servants. In short, if you saw something wrong, you did something about it... no matter how minor it was. Failure to do that and the whole theory wouldn't work.
An article in my January edition of Governing Magazine reminisced of decades when the very notion of minor crime (graffiti, broken windows) begetting higher crime (assaults, drugs) was thrust upon a political structure seeking answers and alternatives. The new concept fell favorably on the young but budding politician, Rudy Giuliani and the rest is history.
There has been so many well written piece on both sides of the debate as to whether or not the theory holds water. I don't want to pretend to know enough to make a stance. However there is some aspects to the theory that certainly is related to me and my family. As we walked down Broadway this beautiful winters evening, I couldn't help but notice for the countless time, the sheer number of street lights that are burned out in this city. In some places I thought that perhaps there was a whole blog out only to see one lone shinning example of power flowing through the wires. Enough is enough sometimes and so while I walked along tonight I opted to report the lights out as we went. Needless to say our walk was much shorter tonight. In a few short blocks I reported over a dozen street lights out. The worst part is that these are not areas where there are no people. We are talking about along Broadway and where $250k condos have been recently built. I wish now that I had counted the total number of street lights that we passed. I would be surprised if it was more than 75. Even if it was 100, that would mean that 10% of the lights along the route we took were burned out.
I have noted the street light issue around Bricktown lately especially as I have watched a few street lights stay burned out for months now without getting fixed. If you walk Bricktown a lot, another theme is emerging. Graffiti, and not the "Steve hearts OKC" kind, can be seen on almost ever light pole. It is a problem that we need to address.
Oklahoma City, someone is breaking out our windows and we need to quickly step up and address it. I encourage you, if you see ANYTHING wrong in your neighborhood, please report it. I prefer to publicly document it on SeeClickFix but don't get hung up on the how. Just do it.