Page 36 - June 19-July 2, 2024 C ontractors and developers can protect their reputa- tion and brand by keeping proj- ect sites clean, orderly, and free of signs of neglect. This protects project sites in the near-term by preventing safety hazards, van- dalism and theft during construc- tion, and in the long-term by protecting the community from disorder and crime. The broken windows theory hypothesizes that maintaining clean and order- ly environments prevents devo- lution into disorder and crime. Applied to construction sites, this theory supports the idea that orderly construction sites and vigilant contractors prevent development of safety hazards causing accidents, injuries, and damage. n The broken windows the- ory. The broken windows the- ory, proposed in 1982 by crimi- nologists James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, evaluates the relationship between disor- der in urban environments and crime. The central premise of the broken windows theory is that even <minor> infractions and signs of disorder, if left unchecked, can escalate into more serious crime and social decay. The theory draws upon an observation that a car with bro- ken windows abandoned in even a highly affluent neighborhood can signal passersby that the neighborhood is uncared for and invites further van- dalism and deterioration. On a broader scale, minor i n f r a c t i on s and signs of disorder that are ignored in a commu- nity lead to increased criminal behavior and deteriorate local quality of life. The neuroscience support- ing the broken windows theory posits that humans can quickly and subconsciously analyze hundreds of visual cues in our surroundings. This evolutionary tool tells us how to behave and govern ourselves in specific envi- ronments. When communities address minor issues of disorder, such as vandalism, structures in disrepair, and abandoned lots or cars, it prevents these issues from escalating. Communities that maintain an area’s appearance and foster a culture of respect prevent the proliferation of crimi- nal activity. The broken windows theory advocates for policing strate- gies that proactively prioritize addressing minor offenses and maintaining public order. Enforc- ing laws and regulations con- sistently creates a sense of com- munity accountability and deter- rence, thereby reducing oppor- tunities for more serious crimes to occur. n The broken windows of construction and develop- ment. At construction sites, the “broken windows” are site safety issues. Even minor safety infrac- tions broadly indicate an inatten- tive safety culture and manage- ment practices. Examples include improper storage of materi- als, unsecured tools, walkways impeded by debris, failure to wear personal protective equip- ment, and unenforced safety pro- tocols. Contractors should also be aware of general cleanliness and order of construction sites as they appear to the public. Just as neglected communities can attract crime, a disorganized and neglected construction site can invite vandalism and theft because workers and the public subconsciously believe the norms of the site are disrepair. n Fixing broken windows in construction and development. Consider implementing the fol- lowing measures: • Basic safety measures. The most basic means to prevent dis- order at construction sites is regu- lar site inspections to identify and address minor safety infractions and signs of disorder. The bro- ken windows theory dictates that once minor infractions are identi- fied, contractors must promptly correct them to prevent accidents, injury, or public vandalism and theft at the construction site. This might include repairing damaged equipment, removing debris and hazards, or providing additional training to workers on safety pro- tocols and best practices. Contractors should also main- tain a visible presence on the site and ensure that it is well- maintained. Employee vigilance can be promoted by encouraging workers to report dangerous, dis- orderly or unsightly conditions. Recognizing and rewarding proj- ect workers for reporting issues on the construction site can rein- force the importance of safety and security and foster a culture of open communication. • Useof technology. Advance- ments in technology offer valu- able tools for enhancing con- struction site safety and security. Wearable devices, such as smart helmets and vests equipped with sensors, enable real-time moni- toring of workers’ vital signs, environmental conditions, and general site cleanliness and order. Drones and autonomous robots can perform site inspections, identify safety hazards such as open or unsecured premises and mitigate risks in hard-to-see areas. By embracing technological inno- vations, contractors and develop- ers can augment their safety and security efforts and promote a culture of continuous improve- ment. • Community engagement. Lastly, community engagement can help site security. Like foster- ing an open and communicative work culture, building positive relationships with the surround- ing community and neighbors creates a broader network to prevent vandalism and theft at construction sites. Contractors should inform neighbors about the construction project, provide contact information for reporting suspicious activity, and encour- age residents to notify the author- ities if they observe anything out of the ordinary. Engaging the community creates a network of support and increases awareness of security issues. By implementing these strate- gies, contractors can apply the principles of the broken win- dows theory to maintain order and promote a culture of safety and security on construction sites. By addressing minor infractions right away and fostering a sense of vigilance among workers, con- tractors can create safer and more secure work environments. Addi- tionally, by engaging the neigh- boring public and collaborating with stakeholders, contractors and developers can help improve their brand and positively impact a community. s Apply broken windows theory to development, building Arizona Colorado Texas Utah CIVIL SERVICES SITE PLANNING MASTER PLANNING ENTITLEMENTS UTILITY SERVICES LAND SURVEYING 1500 West Canal Court Littleton , Colorado 80120 720.283.6783 Construction, Design & Engineering Ryan Markham Associate attorney, BBG Construction Law