Olsim: Fixing the broken windows

The Eternal Student

THE solutions to our society's ills are right under our noses but we tend to look far, even up to the moon for answers. What if, the answer to criminality and chaos is simple cleanliness? What if maintaining order only requires the fixing of "broken windows"?

The broken windows theory, credited for New York's crime rate decline in the 1990s, is a criminological theory that states that visible signs of crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder create an urban environment that encourages more crime and disorder, including serious crimes.

That, addressing these through persistent cleaning and maintenance of public spaces will deter said tendencies and ultimately promote order and community development.

Academics James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling first introduced the broken windows theory in an article entitled "Broken Windows", for The Atlantic Monthly.

The title comes from the following example: "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."

A disorderly and chaotic area represents mismanagement and inefficiency, and on the part of the people, disobedience and lawlessness.

That is why Mayor Isko of Manila made it a point to clean the streets first before any other business of the day, or why many politicians pride themselves of their clean and orderly places, or why Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew made no apologies in penalizing litterers, or why Japan is the progressive Japan that it is, or why "Cleanliness is next to Godliness".

Obviously, the way our place looks reflects the people that we are. Simple disorder creates more disorder, simple trash invites more trash.

This philosophy ultimately produces a noble repercussion to its citizens and the place as a whole -- the community becomes invested in the orderly place and will help in protecting and preserving it.

The idea will inspire community policing, and ultimately, community development and pride of place.

Cleaning is not just cleaning. Fixing windows is not just fixing. It is the answer that we sometimes underestimate, the solution that we refuse to accept.


The VolunTourism Organization is still accepting volunteers not only for tourism, but for all community development works.

Interested individuals and groups may visit us at the La Trinidad Tourism Office to register and schedule activities or volunteer works.

They may also contact us at 09294619617 or through email at

Our organization also wish to express our heartfelt to our tireless volunteers who sacrifice even a couple of hours for the community. Salamat! Iyaman! Thank you!


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