Tribute or vandalism?

Something needs to be done about the rising levels of graffiti on our island.  While some may start as tributes to fallen friends, untackled graffiti starts a chain reaction towards increased crime.  This needs to be tackled head on by those responsible and solutions need to be considered to clean it up and put and end to it. 

A couple months ago, not too long after hearing of one of many bike accident deaths we’ve had of late, a spray painted tribute appeared on the wall of a bus stop in Hamilton parish.

Clipboard01_3

In the weeks and months since that tribute first appeared, the tribute grew and along with it came other spray painted remarks.

Imag0069sm_3 

Imag0066sm

Imag0067sm

Now what can be found are the inner walls covered in a tribute, along with various initials spray painted on the walls.

The inner whiteboard which is supposed to be used to mount bus schedules and routes is covered in cursings and initials and various sayings.

It is clear that the PLP has failed in their maintenance of this bus shelter, just as they have with the one in St. David’s

Our leadership needs to Malcolm Gladwell’s book called The Tipping Point, which tells how vandalism and graffiti serve as sources of dissent that spur the growth of crime.   What began as a tribute has grown into vandalism.  The reason being that because the spray painted tribute was never cleaned off, more and more people who see it begin to think they can get away with similar.  So they add to it.  The longer that isn’t cleaned, the more people think they can get away with disobeying the law.  It causes a chain reaction.  Now imagine every driver from the east end in the morning clearly seeing this graffiti.  What does that cause them do to?  Well, none other than begin to question their own respect for authority and begin driving more recklessly and speeding more.  For really, if the government can’t be bothered to tackle things as simple as graffiti, they clearly aren’t policing properly and thus there’s less chance I’m going to get caught if I ignore the law as well.  If you don’t follow this logic, I highly recommend you read The Tipping Point.

Anyway, with all of Premier Brown’s raving about his Grand Slam achievement and his encouragement of Bermudians to do their part, I really point the finger at him for not doing his own part.  Very easily, some of the tourists and even people from the PGA could take a ride from the airport and see this as they ride past.  Such a great image representing Bermuda don’t you think?  Considering that this is a bus shelter, I place responsibility for leaving this for so long squarely on the Minister of Transportation.

Here’s my recommendation.  Clean up the graffiti ASAP but still give the youth their tribute.  How do you do this?  Cleaning up the graffiti should be pretty straight forward, so let’s focus on the tribute.  Find out who from Hamilton parish has died in bike accidents recently, especially but not limited to those to whom those wall tributes are made, interview their parents and friends to get their story and get photos of them.  Then have new bus schedules posters made up and include in them photos and stories of those youth who died as a tribute.  This will accomplish a number of things. 

  • It will earn respect from the local youth for having given their fallen colleagues the recognition that they feel they deserve. 
  • It will rid the area of the distasteful graffiti and help stop the spread of lawlessness. 
  • It will serve as a tremendously positive reminder to youth in the area why they themselves shouldn’t speed.

Following these recommendations will hopefully spark some imagination in our leadership in order to begin solving the rising levels of graffiti.  The community is calling out for tributes to fallen youth and the government should be heeding their call for their own tributes will only lead to greater problems.  There are real solutions for tackling such issues, just hopefully they’ll be embraced.

Comments

comments

This entry was posted in Uncategorized by . Bookmark the permalink.

8 thoughts on “Tribute or vandalism?

  1. There fallen colleagues?????????
    they killed themselves and endangered others with there stupiddy on the roads.
    the parents and family need our sympthy,and prayers.They are deffinately not hero’s,but with a little more care and consideration on the roads for them selves and other road user’s they would be alive and living a good life today.
    And those who get away with it,will grown up and be able to buy a very powerfully and fast car.With maybe a little alcohol or drugs can cause alot of grief and damage
    as we have seen.
    sea ya1

  2. There fallen colleagues?????????
    they killed themselves and endangered others with there stupiddy on the roads.
    the parents and family need our sympthy,and prayers.They are deffinately not hero’s,but with a little more care and consideration on the roads for them selves and other road user’s they would be alive and living a good life today.
    And those who get away with it,will grown up and be able to buy a very powerfully and fast car.With maybe a little alcohol or drugs can cause alot of grief and damage
    as we have seen.
    sea ya1

  3. Harry,
    Excuse you, but one of my cousins happened to die in a bike accident less than a year ago.
    It is suggested that he wasn’t speeding and instead what killed him was that his kickstand wasn’t fully up when he rounded a corner.
    Not all road deaths involve recklessness.
    Youth also happen to have less understanding of their mortality largely due to the fact that they haven’t lived life for very long and haven’t witnessed the perils of death that affect us all.
    I beleive it would do some good to highlight to other youth those who died, how they died and how they are now missed as a means to discourage other youth from following their path.
    Should you disagree, I’d be interested in hearing why.
    Denis

  4. dennis – first off i agree that more needs 2 be done about any public vandalism but although i initially bought into the broken windows theory when i read about it in the tipping point – after reading freakonomics it seems less effective than first thought – here’s 3 new takes that actually cast doubt on the theory:
    1.) Among academics, David Thacher (Assistant Professor of Public Policy & Urban Planning at the University of Michigan) stated in a 2004 paper that:
    “…social science has not been kind to the broken windows theory. A number of scholars reanalyzed the initial studies that appeared to support it … Others pressed forward with new, more sophisticated studies of the relationship between disorder and crime. The most prominent among them concluded that the relationship between disorder and serious crime is modest, and even that relationship is largely an artifact of more fundamental social forces.”
    Thacher goes on to state that: “These challenges to the broken windows theory have not yet discredited order maintenance policing with policymakers or the public.”
    2.) In the best-seller More Guns, Less Crime (University of Chicago Press, 2000), economist John Lott, Jr. examined the use of the broken windows approach as well as community and problem oriented policing programs in cities over 10,000 in population over two decades. He found that the impact of these policing policies were not very consistent across different types of crime. He described the pattern as almost “random.” For the broken windows approach, Lott found that the approach was actually associated with murder and auto theft rising and rapes and larceny falling. Increased arrest rates, affirmative action policies for hiring police, and right-to-carry laws were much more important in explaining the changes in crime rates.
    3.) In the best-seller Freakonomics (Willam Morrow, 2005; ISBN 0-06-073132-X), economist Steven D. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner cast doubt on the notion that the Broken Windows theory was wholly responsible for New York’s drop in crime. He instead noticed that years before the 1990s, abortion was legalized. Women who were least able to raise kids (the poor, addicts and unstable) were able to get abortions, so the amount of children being born in broken families was decreasing. Most crimes committed in New York are committed by 16-24 old males; when this demographic decreased in number the crime rate followed.

  5. Harry,
    I have to agree with Denis that all deaths do not involve recklessness. Some accidents are purely that – accidents. You attitude is a pity.
    I know of one young lady who just happened so slide out due to oil in the road into the path of an oncoming vehicle. Unfortunately it was just one of those things.
    However to some of you, it is easier to generalize and paint all with the same brush.

  6. I agree with the main text of this article. Why has graffiti been allowed to remain on our bus shelters for so long? It’s despicable and is a major eyesore.
    I’m not sure on the best way to address the “fallen soldiers” tributes to people who die ‘before their time’, it’s become Bermudian culture to put up large chunks of graffiti everywhere for some reason. It ought to be discussed and your suggestion should be up for consideration.
    Regarding recklessness and accidents, I’m of the belief that any collision short of a lightning strike is preventable, but yes not every road fatality is due to recklessness on the driver’s fault.
    By the way is this particular shelter near Radnor Road junction with North Shore Road?

  7. Vanz,
    Tremendous feedback. Very pleased to see you citing various references to refute my arguement.
    Given your referenced arguements, I tend to agree that it is less likely the prominance of vandalism constitutes a greater rise in crime.
    However, I do still think it’d be a good idea to clean it up and put up tributes to fallen youth and a lesson to others even if it doesn’t yield much of an impact on overall crime.

  8. Tryangle,
    While I can agree with the fallen soldiers argument about for many it’s their own fault, I really feel we need to look towards the future as to how we can prevent more similar accidents from happening in the future.
    Promoting the stories of who died, how, and why they’re missed could be useful in discouraging others from the same unfortunate fate.
    Regarding the actual bus stop, ya, thats the one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *