Doylestown police cited two teenagers this week for .
What they were drawing was not the issue, police said, but when and where they were caught.
"They were doing it at midnight, in the middle of the street," Doylestown Borough Police Chief Jim Donnelly said Thursday. "And, we’ve had several instances of vandalism with the offenders using chalk."
Chalk or no chalk? Were the police right?
On the surface, this seems almost ridiculous, but it follows an approach to policing called the Broken Window Theory. The idea is that if police pursue petty crimes, such as vandalism, it eventually reduces bigger crimes.
In an article titled "Broken Windows" in the March 1982 edition of “The Atlantic Monthly,” the authors wrote:
Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside. Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.
Does this still have meaning today? Leave a comment.