NYC Tipped

Currently reading The Tipping Point, which is a great book about how social trend epidemics start. For example, how come Hush Puppies suddenly became popular and why Blue’s Clues is better than Sesame Street. The last chapter was talking about context, and discussing why New York’s crime rate suddenly plummeted at the end of the 80s. One phenomenon described was the ‘broken windows’ theory – that is, if people see disrepair at a small level such as rubbish on the streets, then they assume that noone cares and then go on to perform bigger mis-deeds. So the way in which New York tackled this was to prevent fare evasion and clean up the grafitti. Oh, and check everyone arrested for fare evasion for an existing criminal record – of which 20% of them did. And now here we are in 2004, with nice shiny subways and less apparent crime than in London – hopefully Mayor Ken will take note!

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