1135 The Cause of Crime

Gareth and Rebecca share their opinions about what causes crime.


Rebecca: So, what do you think are some theories are then about that could lead into helping, you know, prevent crime?

Gareth: Well, there's a story that I once read about, and it's the New York Subway, on how there was so much crime on the New York Subway. And they started cleaning up the subway and the trains, and they wouldn't allow any graffiti on the trains.

Rebecca: Mm-hm.

Gareth: And if a train went in the morning and stopped at a station, and someone wrote graffiti on the window or on the door, that train will be taken out of service -

Rebecca: Wow.

Gareth: --cleaned up, and then put back in service. It actually improved, or it kind of decreased the crime rate, so that there weren't so many crimes committed. There's a whole theory about this, and it's called - Broken Glass Theory. Like if you live in a community that doesn't care about the community, then, you're more likely to destroy it or to break it.

Rebecca: Yeah.

Gareth: If you do have a nice place to live and everyone respects that place, it tends to promote more respect in people.

Rebecca: So, maybe a way to help decrease the crime rate would be to get everyone involved more in the community and to build - to start a cleanup program or something along those lines.

Gareth: Exactly, yeah. I can't remember a case a while back in America, where a group of students were into The Matrix.

Rebecca: Mm-hm.

Gareth: And it's a movie where they wear trenchcoats, these black trenchcoats. This group of students went to a school and they started killing people. And they promoted in the press that it was because of the movies that these kids were into and the games that they played. And they pretty much went into the school and they did everything like a shoot-them-up game, like a game, like Halo, or these games where this first person shoots and you go through the level and you have to destroy the enemies and promote to the next level.

Rebecca: Mm-hm.

Gareth: They pretty much copied that kind of system strategy when they went into the school. So, the newspapers said that it's because of this that these kids killed everyone.

Rebecca: Mm-hm.

Gareth: But I don't know if that's actually true. I don't like - there are so many people that do play these games, these shoot-them-up games, and why aren't they going around killing other people? It's probably something else that happened to these kids that triggered them, and it didn't help that they were shooting people in these video games, but it wasn't the trigger. It probably was some other trauma in their life that caused it.

Learn Vocabulary from the lesson


There are theories.

A theory is an idea we use to explain something about the world. Sometimes the idea has not been proven. Notice the following:

  1. There are several interesting theories on the origin of the universe.
  2. Einstein's theory of relativity is still widely accepted.


The authorities found graffiti.

Graffiti is words or pictures most often spray painted on walls, buildings, trains, etc. Notice the following:

  1. Graffiti is a huge problem downtown.
  2. I actually believe that graffiti ads color to the city.

along those lines

Something along those lines.

The term 'along those lines' has the same meaning as the word 'similar'. Notice the following:

  1. We should plan a party or something along those lines for his graduation.
  2. We should plan a party or something similar for his graduation.


Something else triggered that.

Something that is triggered happens very fast and is most often negative. Notice the following:

  1. The election results triggered protests throughout the country.
  2. They don't yet know what triggered the explosions.


It probably was trauma.

Trauma is a very painful and emotional experience from our past. Notice the following:

  1. It took years to get over over the trauma of losing his father.
  2. The trauma of war has affected the entire population there.
Answer the following questions about the interview.

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Vocabulary Challenge

Complete the sentences with the words below.
theory • graffiti • those lines
trigger • trauma
  1. I want to hear your about why it happened.
  2. What would it take for someone to get over such ?
  3. Several students were caught writing on the new building.
  4. We talked about doing sollutions to crime along .
  5. Dust and pollens always her asthma.