Broken Windows Theory, does it fit Fremantle

I raise this as when it comes to crime this is really a state gov issue.  The council does not the resources or responsibilities for police activities. Where the council can have an impact is by ensuring the COF district is kept in a manner where it would not encourage or attract the petty problems that drive or encourage more serious crime.

As you will read its the little issue’s that allow a environment to develop that cultures more serious crime.

Its the little things that council can control which would  encourage or discourage a environment for more serious criminal activity.

Issues like;

  • Over grown verges, sets an image of lack of care, not great for snakes now summer is coming either.
  • A built up or road side collection, (has become a hiding place drop point  for the drug dealers.) as well as being unsightly and as locals notice it encourages more rubbish to be dumped, the basics of broken windows theory.
  • Illegal parking for cars allowing stolen vehicles to be dumped and left for months.
  • The increase in street begging and vagrancy, in the CBD has left our city with a shocking image of anti-social behaviour has been a killer to get good quality retailers back to town.
  • The alcohol policy not being enforced allowing alcohol driven events to be the citys focus bringing with it all the anti-social issues it attracts. Street drunkenness has also helped fuel the drug issues in town.
  • Poor maintenance with road sumps and subsiding fences allowing them to be accessed by criminals as stash or hiding places, these have been left in disrepair for months Fremantles Dangerous Street Sumps , this was reported back in June still not fixed. Now another one just down the street also has a broken fence, nothing done again in months.
  • Graffiti is another attraction for petty crimes leading to more serious criminal activity. The council policy encourages Grafitti which is proven to be a catalysis for other crimes refer the polices goodbyegrafitti website
  • Bike helmets, bike lights, riding on the wrong side of the road and the plethora of other road rules which are regularly ignored in Fremantle
  • The list goes, they may sound petty but this is where it all starts, this is the base of the Broken Windows theory that neglect allows issues to build and get worse

These issues are in councils control,  yet sadly they have fail to address them and even encourage these activities, which creates an environment that allows these sorts of activities to grow, and attract more anti-social activity, now to fix the problem of cause will be longer and more expensive.

 

 

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 pavement. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of refuse from take-out restaurants there or even break into cars.

Broken windows theory, academic theory proposed by James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982 that used broken windows as a metaphor for disorder within neighbourhoods. Their theory links disorder and incivility within a community to subsequent occurrences of serious crime

Broken windows theory had an enormous impact on police policy throughout the 1990s and remained influential into the 21st century. Perhaps the most notable application of the theory was in New York under the direction of Police Commissioner William Bratton. He and others were convinced that the aggressive order-maintenance practices of the New York City Police Department were responsible for the dramatic decrease in crimerates within the city during the 1990s. Bratton began translating the theory into practice as the chief of New York City’s transit police from 1990 to 1992. Squads of plainclothes officers were assigned to catch turnstile jumpers, and, as arrests for misdemeanours increased, subway crimes of all kinds decreased dramatically. In 1994, when he became New York City police commissioner, Bratton introduced his broken windows-based “quality of life initiative.” This initiative cracked down on panhandling, disorderly behaviour, public drinking, street prostitution, and unsolicited windshield washing or other such attempts to obtain cash from drivers stopped in traffic. When Bratton resigned in 1996, felonies were down almost 40 percent in New York, and the homicide rate had been halved.

Prior to the development and implementation of various incivility theories such as broken windows, law enforcement scholars and police tended to focus on serious crime; that is, the major concern was with crimes that were perceived to be the most serious and consequential for the victim, such as raperobbery, and murder. Wilson and Kelling took a different view. They saw serious crime as the final result of a lengthier chain of events, theorizing that crime emanated from disorder and that if disorder were eliminated, then serious crimes would not occur.

Their theory further posits that the prevalence of disorder creates fear in the minds of citizens who are convinced that the area is unsafe. This withdrawal from the community weakens social controls that previously kept criminals in check. Once this process begins, it feeds itself. Disorder causes crime, and crime causes further disorder and crime.

Scholars generally define two different types of disorder. The first is physical disorder, typified by vacant buildings, broken windows, abandoned vehicles, and vacant lots filled with trash. The second type is social disorder, which is typified by aggressive panhandlers, noisy neighbours, and groups of youths congregating on street corners. The line between crime and disorder is often blurred, with some experts considering such acts as prostitution and drug dealing as disorder while many others classify them as crimes. While different, these two types of disorder are both thought to increase fear among citizens.

The obvious advantage of this theory over many of its criminological predecessors is that it enables initiatives within the realm of criminal justice policy to effect change, rather than relying on social policy. Earlier social disorganization theories and economic theories offered solutions that were costly and would take a long time to prove effective. Broken windows theory is seen by many as a way to effect change quickly and with minimal expense by merely altering the police crime-control strategy. It is far simpler to attack disorder than it is to attack such ominous social ills as poverty and inadequate education.”

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  1. The state government provides funding for Local City Councils, such as Fremantle to obtain grants for CCTV. In fact both the grants for the CCTV in Fremantle have come through in the last 5 or 6 years because of the work of Upper House Phil Edman MLC.

    He has constantly come to the City of Fremantle with the opportunity for grant money for more CCTV year on year since being elected. Unfortunately the current CEO and Mayor don’t bother engaging in the grants process to build on the CCTV network and this important CCTV service is being cast asside to make way for slowing down of road speeds instead.

    It was through the work of Bill Massie a couple of years ago, who put forward a grant application to get $300,000 for an upgrade to the CCTV network. They did get $50,000, which isnt as much as they wanted, but its better than nothing.

    CCTV plays an important part in helping police catch and prosecute criminals and keep criminal activity, violence, theft and damage down. Its something that the City of Fremantle can do, but doesn’t invest enough time, energy and money into.

    People who are voting, especially in the City Ward of Fremantle need to decide if they like the beggars and drunks/drug affected who are cajoling people on the cappuccino strip and hindering business operation during weeknights by way of threats and intimidation of patrons and business operators.

    I was unfortunately witness to such activity last night around 9pm in the heart of the cappuccino strip. If Fremantle wants to improve its business turnover during the Monday to Thursday period, and at night, more needs to be done to encourage people to come down and enjoy a coffee, drink or a meal, without the threats of violence and intimidation, which is going unchecked now.

    Graffiti is another issue and I don’t believe its being cleaned off quickly enough from around the place. Weather there is a difference between art and graffiti is up to the individual, as is whether it improves the overall appeal to the residents of the City Ward, where this policy has primarily been targeted towards.

    I asked the business operators last night what they thought their number one concern was, and keeping rates to CPI over the next 4 years was top of the list. Keeping the streets clean and keeping the anti-social behavior and threats of violence from vagrants, etc, were ranked 2 and three respectively.

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