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Broken Windows

The broken windows theory of policing suggests that when police target small crimes like “vandalism, public drinking, and fare evasion,” and reduce visible signs of “crime, anti-social behavior, and civil disorder” they reduce the likelihood of further and worse crime.

This can certainly be taken too far, as in “stop-and-frisk” policies, if those are examples of broken windows policing, as some suggest.

When applied to a team you’re leading, broken windows policing looks like: making sure uniforms are still sharp and worn properly, office common spaces are kept tidy, individuals are shown respect in each interaction, promises are kept, report and presentation standards are being met, and people generally meet the requirements and standards of each of their duties.

Watch for Broken Windows

It’s easy to forget why the small things matter. So often, we invent, raise up, and perpetuate new small things that really don’t matter. However, there are a set of standards we are each supposed to be required to maintain, either by order, regulation, or law.

Those true requirements are the broken windows I need to watch for. The purpose, which I should not forget, is to maintain a lower probability of more serious problems in the unit.