Society has to pick up the pieces and rebuild youth

THERE is a theory on what keeps society orderly and civilised: fix the broken windows.
Nanjing Night Net

Actually I’m not sure if it is a theory so much but character Rick Grimes from zombie apocalypse show The Walking Dead said it and it kind of makes sense.

“You keep the windows intact, you keep society intact,” he says with the kind of Southern US accent that only a British actor can pull off. Essentially, it is the little problems that matter.

Keeping them in check stops little problems becoming bigger problems. Launceston has experienced a spike in petty vandalism with several businesses having windows smashed.

The perpetrators’ motives have either been to steal items inside the shops or just mindless destruction.

A little problem in the grand scheme of things but incrediblyfrustrating to business owners, police, the council and general public who want to see an orderly and tidy society.

Nothing looks worse for a city’s image than smashed windows, damaged buildings or empty shops. A broken window begets another broken window and so on and so on.

If left unattended, the problem spirals into a mess that becomes the norm and tells of a place’s reputation.

Often these problems elicits a lament from the general public that, “someone should do something”.

The police should do something. The council should do something. CityProm should do something. Business owners should do something.

Yes, that is true, and they are; organising a meeting between stakeholders that will address the issue and other anti-social behaviour.

But the general public must also ask itself, “What can I do?”

What can I do to deter crime and anti-social behaviour happening in my community?

Because solving such matters is a job for everyone.

It is the job of the passer-by who observes suspicious or criminal behaviour to report it.

It is the job of businesses to install security measures such as close circuit television and sensor lights.

It is the job of the general community to support those impacted by such behaviour and let them know it is not deemed acceptable.

CityProm is hosting a breakfast meeting next month to discuss ways to combat the recent spike in offences. Shoplifting has also been identified by some retailers as being on the increase – one saying it his costing his business $45,000 a year.

If we want businesses to not just survive but thrive in a difficult economy, we cannot accept that as the status quo.

Like most antisocial behaviour, the answer comes back to better education.

That sounds hopelessly simple but if young people are engaged in school, then they are less likely to be engaged in antisocial behaviour.

It is, however, not the fault of teachers or schools entirely either. Again it comes back to a total response from all community stakeholders.

On Friday, I attended a working group held by the Beacon Foundation, which aimed to bridge the gap between students who didn’t go on to either work or tertiary study.

Business leaders from across Launceston were asked what they could do to help ameliorate the rates of youth unemployment, which are projected to rise dramatically if nothing is done.

There was immense goodwill in the room tempered by the reality that whatever is agreed upon must be achievable and have actual and lasting impact.

It is a sensible attitude that reminds me of a saying Frances Underwood said her late husband, governor Peter Underwood, was fond of saying: “What’s happening on Monday?”

It struck a chord, because we can have all the backslapping, feel-good ideas, but unless we make them sustainable and act on them, they will come to nought.

And that necessitates everyone getting involved with a solution.

We must become practical idealists. Tomorrow is Monday.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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