The "broken windows theory" of policing holds that when a community tolerates minor examples of disorder and petty crime, such as broken windows, graffiti, turnstile-jumping, or drinking in public, people are more likely to commit more serious crimes.
As a law-enforcement theory, it's controversial, but whether or not it's true on a city-wide level, I think it's true on a personal level.
My "broken windows" are the particular signs of disorder that make me feel out of control and overwhelmed.
- Unsorted mail
- Messy stacks of newspapers
- Shoes in odd places
- Cluttered counters
- Dirty dishes scattered around the apartment (for my husband, as he often emphatically reminds me, dirty dishes left overnight are broken windows; for me, as long as the dishes make it into the sink, life feels under control)
From what I've observed, people's other "broken windows" often include:
- Staying in pajamas or sweats all day
- Eating food straight from the container