Sociologists call it the “broken window theory.” It goes like this: A broken window in a home or store that goes unrepaired is not only an unattractive nuisance, it also invites vandalism and other crime. Repair the window soon after it breaks, though, and you’ve nipped the problem in the bud, thus preventing a minor problem from becoming a neighborhood eyesore.
Expand that theory a bit and you will appreciate the work of neighborhood Town Watch groups, including the recently reincarnated Mayfair Town Watch.
As Philadelphia’s surging homicide rate shows, crime is everywhere and way too often takes a deadly turn. One of the ways to preserve the goodness of Mayfair and other still-stable Northeast neighborhoods is for neighborhood residents and business owners to support the new group, which covers most of Mayfair and goes as far north as Sheffield Avenue in Holmesburg.
Mayfair Town Watch was out of commission for a while, the victim of, not surprisingly, citizen apathy. This time, though, the good people of Mayfair can’t afford to look the other way. They need to rise up and join the group.
The new organization is led by neighborhood activist Milt Martelack, who deserves credit for leading opposition to a planned methadone clinic on Frankford Avenue in Holmesburg. The new president has the support of movers and shakers including Mayfair Civic Association Joe DeFelice and Frank Bachmayer, commander of Philadelphia’s largest and busiest police district, the 15th.
With plenty of hot spots in Mayfair, Mr. Martelack has his work cut out for him, but his group will be a huge success — as long as the people of Mayfair get off their butts and help out. ••
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