In the Bronx, this car was immediately stripped, then vandalized. In Palo Alto, California, the car was left alone until the researcher took a sledgehammer to the car and then left it there on the street. Once the researcher took the sledgehammer to the car to damage it, others soon followed suit and vandalized it. In the real world, the theme of broken windows was carried to mean that if “little” things are left to fester – vagrants, rowdy kids, etc. – then it is only a matter of time before the whole neighborhood goes to pot, as keeping control of the small things is key to making the neighborhood believe that somebody cares, and, if somebody cares, then the neighborhood is less likely to become a crime-ridden enclave. So, this is the basic theme.
Did the article adhere to the theme? It did adhere to the theme, and expanded upon it. It started out with an example that would support the theme – that officers on foot patrol are beneficial for a neighborhood, not because they actually reduce crime, but because there is a perception by the residents that they are safer with an officer on the streets. This adheres to the theme, because the theme is that there should always be a perception that somebody cares, and if there is that perception, then neighborhoods will be safer and will not disintegrate as quickly as neighborhoods where obviously nobody cares. The example of the foot patrol then expanded the theme to areas that are related to the theme – that neighborhoods have their own customs and informal rules, and that the presence of the police in these neighborhoods is helpful in enforcing these norms. That there is a link between disorderly behavior and the fear of violent crime is another expansion of the theme. The theme is also expanded to the talk about vigilantism, in that this is one way that the citizens of the neighborhoods may take it