Crime: Diary of a Vandalized Car

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This serious version of Candid Camera was one of several similar experiments which have been organized recently by Philip Zimbardo, 35, a New York born psychologist now at Stanford University. His tentative conclusion is that in offices, schools and streets, a big-city feeling of personal anonymity encourages destructive behavior. It is discouraged by a sense of community—an atmosphere in which vandals feel that anyone watching disapproves of what they are doing. To check his theory, Zimbardo parked a derelict car in a middle-class neighborhood of suburban Palo Alto, California. During three days of observation, he reports, it was not touched once.

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