Turns out Giuliani was right

Bad news for people who are into graffiti: According to a story in a recent issue of the Economist, aka the bible of hip-hop[1], a group of scientists conducted several experiments in order to determine whether or not the broken windows theory is true, and it turns out that it is.

The broken windows theory is the theory that, if people see that an area looks fucked the fuck up, and it looks like there might already be crime going on, it’ll make them that much more likely to commit a crime themselves. The name broken windows theory comes from the idea that, if a building has a broken window, soon it’ll have more broken windows, then the next thing you know, it’ll be broken into.

Which all sounds pretty obvious to me: If I’m gonna commit a crime, I might as well do it somewhere where no one gives a shit, like the ghetto. But you know how scientists like to conduct experiments to prove shit that’s already obvious. If they work for a university, which I know a lot of them do, they probably get paid the same either way, regardless of the actual worth of the work they do. Or lack thereof.

Plus, I’m sure this will have important policy implications. Lest we forget, the broken windows theory has been the intellectual basis for the NYPD’s zero tolerance policy since the Giuliani era, in which mofos have been thrown in jail like it’s going out of style just for shit like riding the subway for free, or having some weed in your pocket instead of your sock (a big no-no, I’m told).

I never actually visited New York until the Giuliani era, but when I did, I was struck by how clean (which is to say, how soft) it was. Giuliani and his ilk must have you ninjas shook. I never felt so safe walking in an urban center. Downtown St. Louis is like a ghost town, for the most part, but there’s some scary-looking bums down there. But worst case scenario, I could probably just kill a bum with my bare hands.

Homeless guys in downtown St. Louis are like coyote you see in urban areas, in that they look disgusting, and they could probably give you some nasty disease if you aren’t careful, but they’re too frail and hungry to do much damage to a grown-ass man. I used to run into them all the time when I was mowing the lawn at my parents house, and when they’d see me, they’d just take off running.

But I digress.

The thing about the dramatic improvement of New York is that, you have to wonder if it’s only been due to making sure people pay to get on the subway, and that they don’t write on anything when they get there. If that’s all it was, I’d be all for it. I’ve gone on the record, on this site and my own site, as saying that I find graffiti to be a soft-ass crime, and only tenuously related to hip-hop in the first place.

But I’m not sure if I’m buying that. I’ve heard too many stories about people getting shot for eating candy bars, and having plungers shoved up their asses, and so on and so forth. Probably the real reason you don’t see any (non-corporate) crime in New York anymore is because all of the bums are either dead or in jail.

That being said, I don’t doubt that these scientists’ findings are true (like I said, the shit seemed obvious anyway), and I wouldn’t definitely be against cleaning up the ghetto, if it’s gonna help cut down on crime.

Here’s an idea: Since we now know for a fact that cleaning up the ghetto cuts down on crime, why don’t we have the police – instead of focusing on choking people out for smoking weed – out there operating weed wackers, and brooms, and shit like that? The ghetto will look better, crime will go down, fat ethnic white guys will still have a job that doesn’t require much in the way of intellect… Problem solved!

[1] You’ll recall that it was in the Economist that the president of the company that makes Cristal said he doesn’t want any rappers mentioning the champagne in their music. Or did he? I seem to recall them doing some other stories re: hip-hop as well. Meanwhile, have you seen the cover of the next issue of the Source, with Biggie Smalls? Say what you will about XXL, but that shit looks classy.

  • JAY STONE

    ha

  • Matt Herbz

    They’ll never put cops out there to clean up the ghettos. Besides, a bunch of Irish cops mulling around a black neighborhood is asking for trouble. I mean, I’m all up for cleaning up the ghetto, but the residents should do it for themselves. If someone donated all the paint, tools, and cleaning supplies, would the inhabitants clean shit up themselves? Probably not. If the landlord paid someone else to clean it up, then he’ll want his money back through higher rent.

    –Matt Herbz–

  • Og bobby J

    something tells me that not matter how classy or polish something appears, the roots of niggerdom will prevail….whether it be the dude stabbing the bus driver yesterday in bed0stuy over a transfer….killin that dude in walmart the other day….or plaxico….

    you can paint a horse black and white, but that shit will never be a cow.

    • amar

      how was the dude getting killed at walmart “niggerdom”? That was just straight up “Americandom”

      and ur right bol, most hobos won’t fuck with u, cause they’re skinny as shit and diseased. BUT sometimes they can use their disease against u. Like my friend worked as a dude who beats the shit outta ppl if they shoplift in a supermarket in a ghetto-ass area and this one hobo ran out with an assload of lottery tickets and my friend told him to drop it. But the hobo cut open his hand right there, bleeding all over the place, and threatened to give my friend HIV if he touched him. Obviously my friend was like “fuck that” and let him go

      • og bobby j

        how was the dude getting killed at walmart “niggerdom”? That was just straight up “Americandom”

        Aren’t they synonomous at this point? Especially come Jan. 20th….

        the point is that being hoog is looked at as a good thing….except by those of use with brains. The ghettos are ghetto because the inhabitants choose to allow it.

        • 619

          Don’t mind bg bobby. He’s still hot over John John McClaine losing. HAHAHA!

    • tony grand$

      If ur talkin bout what happend out here in Cali, those weren’t niggas. They were hispanic.

  • Avenger XL

    This theory involves more than just painting building and making the place look nice. Having a zero tolerance on any kind of crime is the key. If the cops let the citizens know they have a presence their and they don’t have to fear retribution from pooky for helping get his punk ass off they block fine. See when you let a area go to total shit the way cities do their so called ghetto’s then this adds to the sense of hopelessness that the citizens already have. But when you combine a section by section clean up effort followed by zero tolerance it lowers a lot of the copy cat mischief and minor crime and let’s you focus on the freaking idiots who make a bad time worse. i.e. the dope dealers and other random low brow criminals. As much as the pseudo intellectual revolutionaries complain about the police state (which needs to be monitered and police itself) The tend to turn the slums over to the criminal element while the good folks suffer. But that theory works bottom line

  • Smel

    yeah….Plaxico’s goin DOWN.

    “Downtown St. Louis is like a ghost town, for the most part, but there’s some scary-looking bums down there. But worst case scenario, I could probably just kill a bum with my bare hands.”

    But what if you get stuck with an HIV infected needle in the process? (question the product of a Baltimore city education)

  • giantstepp

    Good drop Bol!

  • me

    how comes the lazy people that live there don’t clean it themselves or those who commit the crimes!

    • Avenger XL

      If the world was that black and white and easy this place would be called Utopia now wouldn’t it. We didn’t create governement because we wanted to be bullied we created government to help us maintian and flurish over time. Some times it needs tweaking or shifting to get in line with the people. But at the end of the day order is what you seek. In the so called ghettos folks are far from lazy most are disinfranchised and under represented becuase they never make quite enough for more than a pnadering voice during election season and a deaf ear for the times inbetween. There will always be some ass taking a short cut or trying to terrorize folks for there shit, like adult bullies but more dangerous thus you will always have crime and thus you must always have law.

    • Moi

      they should take a third job and hire mexicans to do it. eat a dick.

  • Moi

    that was in reference to “me” not avenger xl.

  • tony grand$

    Funny as it sounds, there was an episode of “Seinfeld” (some of yall nigs watch the shit, me & Matt Herbz aint the only ones…….) where Jerry & George were complainin bout the crime & filth of New York, & Jerry made the same suggestion: Let the police clean up the trash, while they’re “taking out the trash”. Interesting even when ol’ Jerome said it.
    Crime is one of Gods oldest & biggest jokes, & for a scientist to come up with such an obvious assessment about urban sprawls, says that he didn’t truly earn his college diploma.
    If I were a criminal, I’d prolly do my dirt in the dirt, if u will, it would seem a lot easier. But @ the same time, if I’m a criminal, locale means bullshit, cuz I’m gonna rob something regardless, & we all know that the grass is greener on the other side of the subway station. So, who’s to say that crime would be affected by pretty store fronts and less vagrants sleeping where I shop. But, damn, it wouldn’t hurt to try & clean up our neighborhoods & give it a shot.

    • Avenger XL

      It is not just pretty store fronts. You have to increase economic developement in impovrised areas. Let the community know you didn’t leave them for dead and that your are only out to punish the D bags that hold the so called hoods hostage. You have to look at the big picture one thing can’t be done to stop a multi level symptom of a corrupt system but you can ease the effects through multiple empowering efforts and it is a proven fact if you start to feel good about where you stay and jobs are available to the point you can afford to live and eat then you doing something. But the easiest thing to start with is of course having zero tolerance for petty crime and thus creating a safe place to bring in economic developement that can support the rest of the change.

      • tony grand$

        I agree avenger, & Obama adressed those kinds of issues on MTV. Including education & awareness for the community. We can all sit here and recognize the many problems we face on a daily, but its not just up to us. We need the upper level management help, & hopfully the president elect will provide those baby steps to help start to process of cosmetic healing, as well as the deeper issues.

  • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

    This is a really funny post but your missing the point to broken windows; the idea is that the kinds of people who sell drugs and hi-jack cars also do petty crimes like smoke weed and jump the turnstile. In other words, if you put just about anyone in jail for any reason (mainly colored people), every motherfucker will be in jail sooner or later, thus reducing crime. It’s not about the look of the ghetto, but about the types of people who commit petty crimes.

  • Avenger XL

    Don’t forget this is a two way street. If you are going to do a bunch of dumb shit just to break the law or try to take a short cut we got a problem. But if your crime is a real proven direct result of a person in need then we can address that differently. The ghetto isn’t a place it is a mind state. You may have less money but that doesn’t mean you need to hi-jack cars, sell drugs or jump turnstiles. If you gotta smoke your weed do so in the comfort of your own crib. Why bring heat on yourself. increased citizen responsiblity helps the citizens keep a eye on this dirty ass system. But if you fall into their trap that means you took the bait anyway.

  • will

    People need to respect republicans. They try to help black folks as much as democrats! So don’t go insulting the republican party Avenger XL. That’s exactly what McCain is trying to do. Giuliani did a lot more than cleaning up buildings!

  • BIGNAT

    2 THINGS KEEP THE CRIME DOWN IN THE HOOD YES THEY KEEP IT CLEANER. ANOTHER THING THAT HELPS IS THE DIALY SWEEPS WITH THE RANDOM AND FUN I.D. CHECKS. MY HOOD IS BASCIALLY DEAD BY 10 OR EARLIER NOW. YES THESE FUCKERS WILL ASK FOR YOUR I.D. EVEN IF YOU LIVE IN THE BUILDING. ALSO EVEN IF THEY HAVE SEEN YOU MANY TIMES BEFORE. IF THE TIME THEY ASK YOU FOR YOUR I.D. YOU DON’T HAVE IT GUESS WHAT BUDDY. THEY WILL TAKE YOU TO YOUR DOOR TO MAKE SURE YOU CAN PRODUCE SOME I.D.
    THEY DON’T LET YOU HANG OUT AROUND ANYWHERE IN THE HOOD. IT USE TO BE YOU CHECK TO SEE WHAT NIGGAS ARE IN FRONT YOUR BUILDING SHIT YOU MIGHT HAVE TO TAKE THE BACK ENTRANCE. YOU KNOW HOW ONCE NIGGAS GET A LITTLE WEED AND HENNY IN THEM THEY START ACTING THE FOOL. NOW IT’S JUST COPS AND IF THE SEE YOU WALK UP AND REVERSE YOU KNOW THEY GOING GO AFTER YOU. IF THEY DOING A BUILING SWEEP AND YOU RUNNING DOWN THE STAIRS FAST ENOUGH YOU GOING GET A GUN PULLED ON YOU OR QUESTIONED TO WHY YOU ARE RUNNING.

    SAFER YES LESS CRIME YES MORE BORING BIG YES. A NIGGA CAN’T EVEN PLAY A SPADE GAME IN THE LITTLE PARK NO MORE AIN’T THAT A BITCH.

  • miles archer

    “People need to respect republicans. They try to help black folks as much as democrats!”

    Ron, you just got your next “Obama Please” blog(no Jim Jones).

    You’re welcome.

  • will

    It’s true. People made a stereotype of the republican party because of Bush. McCain respected and wanted to help black people too.

    And check out some Kansas City hip hop!

    myspace.com/richthefact

    myspace.com/maclethal

    myspace.com/xtothevizzy

    • http://www.incilin.blogspot.com Incilin

      You mean like when he voted against turning MLK’s b-day into a holiday?

  • http://www.myspace.com/chronikill ROX ONE

    yes and no… sure its no good to have abandoned buildings and garbage cans on fire, but soho the east and the LES have all remained bombed while undergoing their gentrification (soho, not gentrification so much as the Europeans moving in and displacing the American yuppies)..

    “”The thing about the dramatic improvement of New York is that, you have to wonder if it’s only been due to making sure people pay to get on the subway, and that they don’t write on anything when they get there.”"

    The decline is crack use, mass executions of the homeless and reclassification of crime stats are the reasons that come to mind… It’s not like there is any dearth of screaming lunatics in the subway system and the windows are scratched and etched now, it’s more presentable, but they are still vandalized…

    When I get off the train in the morning, I see the same homeless dudes asleep in their bags and when I get on after work I see them crazy-eyed and stalking the entrance, with bottles of urine everywhere…and this is in a very, very touristy area…

    Sure NYC is cleaner than Baltimore or New Orleans (and I suppose St. Louis), but I wouldn’t hold the present day city up as something urban centers should aspire to… And, as a rule of thumb, if tourists are going to an area it’s much cleaner than an area tourists don’t go to…

    We’ll see how long this lasts with the budget in shambles and all those kids who grew up on Julie’s killer cops coming of age…

  • http://xxlmag.com Billy X. Sunday

    OG Bobby J is right. White was the first niggers so niggerdom has always been americandom.

    Peep the story of these nigger fans of the book ‘Twilight’ rioting in San Francisco…
    http://www.reelzchannel.com/movie-news/2168/twilight-fans-start-mini-riot-in-san-francisco-mall

    Like I told y’all before, white is the OG nigger.

  • The Truth

    I thought an educated person like yourself would have read Freakenomics and have known that its not police but about abortion.