Broken Windows Theory – Taking a drive through Delhi, night 2 AM…

If you happen to be one of those late night creatures on my FaceBook network who find it hard to sleep before 2/ 3 AM, chances are you would have tripped on the below post from me on 16th November morning 2:36 AM:

Click on image to enlarge

Well, it was a serious incident, but we were able to take care of it as a family. Given how our minds respond in a very limited fashion under such circumstances, all four of us were able to focus on four different activities and managed to arrive at our place unharmed whilst taking care of the needful.

Once home, we informed the district police on ‘1oo’ and also corresponded with a couple of officials from the district police station on phone. We also made it a point to reach out to the Police officials at more responsible positions (on mail), to ensure that those guys were caught and so that others would not have go through this kind of ordeal at their hands. Having waited for a few days, finally got the following mail from the Delhi Police Commissioner’s cell today morning:

Click on mail to enlarge 1st part of mail

Click on mail to enlarge 2nd part of mail

It’s always a pleasure to see officials working sincerely towards deterring such criminal activities, and to improve the state of affairs in the country.

Remember reading about the ‘Broken Windows Theory’ a couple of years back in the Malcolm Gladwell book ‘The Tipping Point‘; and couldn’t help but consider the fact that there was not even a single policeman/ van along the entire stretch of the road where this incident happened (Thanks Pa, for pointing this out to me when I was in the process of reaching out to the police officials).

The Broken Windows Theory states that a small deviation from the norm can instigate further disorder and thus even further deviation (from the norm). In this case, the empty stretch at night 2 AM without any police supervision served as a ‘broken window’ for those men to try to commit a crime. Had there been even an indication of the law (honest and active) being present in that stretch, it would have served as a deterrent for such to-be crimes — In fact, nothing else would have been required to prevent this kind of a scenario  wherein the individuals had the guts to follow us all the way through a straight stretch of road extending almost 5 kms!

Whilst a few basic things can be taken care of to improve situations such as these, one might as well take them up some other time. You can, of course, in the meanwhile, trip on gems like ‘Predictably Irrational’ and other books and talks by Dan Ariely (in addition to Gladwell) to figure out how to save the world from crimes in a more civilized setting, say, a workplace or a classroom. * Yes… Gasp! *

Three things to keep in mind when faced with a similar situation:

  1. Make sure all your doors are locked and keep driving – Do not stop.
  2. Remember that you are not Liam Neeson – Recognize risk when you do not have sufficient information about whether the assailants are carrying arms – Do not get into a fight. Call the police and try to get to the nearest point where you can find some safety This could be a crowded place/ police van/ police station/ driving into a secured society building etc.
  3. Try to gather information about the assailants, if possible, so that you can help the Police track them going forward – Face, Vehicle number etc – Try to take their pic/ video and share with your network ASAP

Just these 3 things… and hope you never have to put them to use!

Now to to work with the Police officials to help resolve this matter, by extending all possible help in terms of information.

Stay Safe, and keep kicking!