Broken Windows, Litter, And Crime

By: Tamisha Sales

Have you ever stopped to think about how litter possibly relates to crime?

In simple terms, the Broken Windows Theory suggests that litter-free environments encourage proper litter disposal. On the other hand, the presence of disorder (litter, graffiti, overgrown lots, and abandoned buildings) and disorderly behavior (i.e., panhandling) attract criminal behavior and activities. For this reason, police and code enforcement officials target resources to enforce minor offenses, such as littering.

Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful communicates with local law enforcement the reports of overgrown lots, graffiti, junk cars, and illegal dump sites. Together, the citizens of Athens and Limestone County, law enforcement, and KALB can maintain neighborhood order, prevent more serious crime, and keep Athens and Limestone County beautiful. Therefore, we at KALB would like to extend an invitation to you — groups and businesses — to connect with KALB to encourage litter-free environments and safe communities. Connect by:

Reporting Litter and Illegal Dumping Sites

  • Visit Select Litter Control from the menu, then click on Litter and Illegal Reports. Complete the fields and submit. Or call us directly at 256-233-8000 to report litter or illegal dumping sites.


  • Volunteer as an individual, group, or business to keep Athens-Limestone beautiful.
  • KALB supplies pick-up sticks, buckets, vests, gloves, etc. for cleanups. KALB can also point you in the direction of litter hotspots if you have not already identified a littered location yourself. Call ahead at 256-233-8000 or email the KALB office at, and we can have the supplies ready for you to pick up. It is just that easy!
  • Be creative with your cleanup. Here are ideas from
    • Relay Race Cleanup -Each team has a bag. The first player collects five pieces of trash, then hands the bag to a teammate. The first team to collect 25 pieces (or whatever goal you set) wins. Another idea: Each leg of the race gets more challenging — so maybe the first leg is just running, the second leg is hopping on one foot, and so on.
  • Collect Against the Clock– Set a timer and see how much trash you can pick up before the clock runs out. The team or person with the most trash collected wins.
  • Category Scavenger Hunt Races –  In this relay race, pick up trash in specific categories (maybe five to 10 categories) in a set order. For example, the first category is cigarette butts. Once you collect that, the next level is an aluminum can. After that, a piece of paper. The first to pick up those items in that order wins.

Becoming a Member or Donating

  • KALB continues to fulfill its mission because of the support received from citizens like you, who care about our local environment, community wellbeing, and the programs and education KALB provides. To learn more, or become a member, visit KALBCares.comand select Donate from the menu.By: Tamisha Sales,

    Executive Director Keep Athens-Limestone Beautiful