Recent estimates indicate that are millions of American adults, and juveniles who are experiencing compulsive gambling problems. Those numbers are compounded by the loved ones who suffer along with them. If the Broken Window Theory is applied, the effect of gambling’s negative side effects start to spill over into the mainstream of society, or the community in which a gambling problem is present. The broken windows theory describes a slippery slope effect in relation to the social thread of norms a group shares. One neighbor lets weeds grow up, and then another neighbor does also. A neighbor moves away and drug dealers buy the weed-infested house. People buy the drugs, jobs are lost, houses fall apart, crime rises in response to drug usage. One window is broken, and then many more follow. The City of Terre Haute took a sample of 61 businesses and found 82 gambling video machines. City officials were questioned and three answered respectively.
Bob Wright, Terre Haute’s Prosecutor answers when questioned about the machines replied “I don’t see much difference between these machines and people driving 100 miles to Casino Aztar” and that he probably wouldn’t prosecute such a case. In the legal sense of gambling, according to this statement, the city does not does enforce legal deterrence. Therefore, it is not formally discouraged. If the citizens are not deterred from such an activity, the activity will occur along with the moral and ethical views decaying with the current gamblers.
Penny Davis with the Excise Police states “The Excise police are too busy with underage drinkers, liquor law violations and minors buying cigarettes to take action. Liquor law violations in relation to underage drinking has a limited decay. The individual breaks a law, has a possible addiction. The person is punished or put into rehabilitation. Such a problem such as drinking is limited within a family’s responsibilities to address. The act usually takes place in a private but social arena because of the social formal law that deter public discovery. Smoking is limited also. An illegally aged person buys cigarettes, and perhaps becomes addicted. The act of smoking is a self-centered addiction and even though there are laws that forbid it, it is socially accepted in general. Excise Police officer neglect in concern to gambling allows the activity to become a “free of worry” event.
The Sheriff of Terre Haute, William Harris replies “I acknowledge that they are illegal, but I don’t get any citizen’s complaints on them-My obligation is to the taxpayer and I get more complaints on speeding vehicles and dogs-I’m going to spend my time where I have a victim who’s being hurt. I know gambling can be addictive, but the person is ruining his or her own life-I’ve never seen a person handcuffed to those video machines. Harris addresses problems that have surfaced, or those problem of which show their “face”. He acknowledges his role of policing to address complaints, which are called in, emailed, etc. This form of policing is a stimuli reaction process. Call, address the issue, and go. To what degree should policing be taken? Should the underlying effects, such as a social problem that has the ability to decay other social functions be addressed? Gambling is one of these problems. According to Harris, policing does not expand into the “social up keep” sphere.
There sits a video gambling machine in a dark corner of a dark building. A man, a father of three who lives in an average neighborhood walks in and uses the machine. He becomes addicted to the device and finds himself using it a little more each time. Time with his family decreases, the kids have less of a father figure around. Family funds decrease, denial occurs. The man has implemented less money and less of his time into the family, and the family starts to decay. If the problem continues and his funds dry up, he may turn to criminal activities to obtain cash for his addiction. Therefore, the crime rate rises (problem police address).