27 March 2010

Broken Scooter Theory

This scooter has been in our alley since Monday, March 22. Well, variations on the theme scooter, since each day more is missing, and more of its innards leak out into the Anacostia Watershed.

This is scooter, and scooter's friends, chair and wastebasket

But in all seriousness, the fact that this mess is still in the alley is painfully absurd. We called 311 on Tuesday to alert MPD of suspicion of stolen property. When the scooter was still there Wednesday morning—albeit slightly thinner—we submitted an online service request for alley cleaning via DPW. I think its safe to assume most folks reading this are tangentially familiar with "Broken Windows Theory." If not, at its nexus is the idea that if we fix problems in neighborhoods when they are small (i.e. literal broken windows, graffiti, litter), the chance for further petty crime and the potential for serious crime can be deterred. Don't fix the small stuff and, well, don't be surprised when problems mount on top of one another, the next one larger than the last.

So we have a presumably stolen scooter in our alley. If whomever deposited it wanted the tires before they dumped it, my guess is they would have taken them. Instead, someone else figured they could take them. And more bulk trash has piled up. So the cycle of broken windows, if even on the smallest level, is beginning to ramp up in our alley. And we can't get the city to help us by simply doing the job we pay them to do.


  1. Under Anthony Williams, you would've called the Mayor's call center once, and it would have been taken care of in under a day; just saying...

  2. I love that photo! I think it'd be perfect to use on my 404 page, if you don't mind.

  3. I would have taken the whole moped


You can be curmudgeonly too, but let's try to be civil and constructive here, ok?