Q: I enjoyed reading the “A different kind of patrol” article (SMDP, Feb. 9, page 1) last week. What is the “broken windows theory?”

A: Great question. The broken windows theory was originally published by Dr. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling in 1982. In this theory, Wilson and Kelling suggest that a society, or neighborhood, that appears to be lawless will itself breed lawlessness.

Wilson and Kelling use the example of a broken window in this theory. They suggest that a neighborhood that appears broken down, disordered, and generally unfriendly, will serve as a magnet for delinquent behavior and crime. So if that broken window goes un-repaired, it displays an image of disorder and in turn encourages further incivility, showing residents and others that no one cares.

You can substitute the broken window example for several other “small” crimes like littering or graffiti. If the city of Santa Monica targets and deals with the “smaller” crimes, or quality of life issues, we feel it will prevent the “larger” crimes from being committed.

Q: I am excited for the Los Angeles Marathon coming back to Santa Monica and I want to volunteer. Do you know how I can lend a hand?

A: Although the marathon is ending in Santa Monica, we do not organize the event, but our City Council and city government do have some input in the overall planning of the event within our city limits. There are hundreds of ways to volunteer and I encourage everyone to get involved. This is a great event that brings hundreds of thousands of people to our great city.

If you would like to volunteer you can do anything from hand out water to register runners. If this interests you, log on to the Los Angeles Marathon website (www.lamarathon.com) and sign up. I hope to see everyone out on March 20 for the event.

Q: I was looking on Facebook this weekend and found a Santa Monica Police Department page. Is this really run by the department?

A: Yes, the page is really run by our department. The Santa Monica Police Department has joined Facebook and we are encouraging the community to “like” us. Just as many other police departments across the country, the Santa Monica Police Department has incorporated Facebook into their policing efforts, using the social network to provide members with regularly updated information and bulletins.

The department’s goal is to communicate more effectively with members of the community through a proven method that the public has already embraced. Social media attracts members of all ages from all corners of our community, thus we are able to keep our community informed easier with Facebook.

Our website, www.santamonicad.org will remain the official form of communications for the department. Bulletins and other information posted to the website will continue to be linked to our Facebook page. To see some of the behind the scenes photographs of the department in action, please visit www.facebook.com/SantaMonicaPD and be sure to “like” us.

If you have questions, please call the Santa Monica Police Department’s Community Relations Unit at (310) 458-8474.

Crime prevention tip

Chances are that we are still holding strong to our New Year’s resolution to hit the gym daily. The gym is a great place to lose some unwanted weight, gain more muscle and relieve stress, but this is also a place where thieves go to fulfill their need to steal items from unsuspecting victims.

We have written several times about vehicle, home and business burglary prevention, but here are a few tips to help prevent getting your most valuable items stolen while working out at the gym:

• Only bring necessary items to the gym. It you do not like wearing jewelry while working out, leave it at home or leave it locked in your vehicle. Make sure you do not leave any valuable in plain sight in your vehicle.

• Use a locker and bring your own lock to the gym. Although many locker rooms provide a lock for your locker, consider bringing your own heavier duty lock. This will ensure that the lock you use on the locker is sufficient to secure your items. Also, a thief may see your lock and move on because they do not want to hassle with a heavy duty lock.

• Use a lanyard to hang your locker key around your neck. Don’t leave your keys on the ground. You may forget to pick them up and a thief can grab them.

BE ALERT AND PAY ATTENTION! Report any suspicious activity to the gym staff or the Santa Monica Police Department.

Today’s questions were answered by: NRO Joseph Cortez, Beat 4: Montana Avenue to I-10 Frwy, 20th Street to Ocean Avenue (excludes downtown area) For information, call (424) 200-0684.

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