Walking on Broken Glass

The Story

The New York City Council is considering passage of a bill that could lead to an increase in serious crime in New York. Sponsored by Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, the bill aims to decriminalize low-level criminal acts, including public urination, drinking on the street, and others. As numerous studies–and over two decades of experience–show, tolerating these acts creates a climate favorable for more serious crimes. Mark-Viverito’s proposal flies in the face of Broken Windows policing, which even Mayor de Blasio supports.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Safe Streets: In 1993, just before Broken Windows was put into widespread practice, the murder rate in NYC was 26.5 per 100,000 people, accounting for 7.9% of all homicides nationwide. Today, the rate is just 4 per 100,000, representing 2.4% of homicides across the country. Read more

  2. Reduction in Crime and Incarceration: One of the most common critiques of Broken Windows is that it results in higher rates of incarceration. Yet felony arrests in New York are down by 60,000 per year from 1990 levels. And even as crime has fallen, the city’s jail population has declined by 45% since 1992. Read more

  3. Approved By New Yorkers: A 2014 poll by Quinnipiac University shows New Yorkers strongly support Broken Windows policing– African Americans (56%), whites (61%), and Hispanics (64%). Read more

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Just 20 years ago, New York City was racked with crime: murders, burglaries, drug deals, car thefts, thefts from cars. Unlike many cities’ crime problems, New York’s were not limited to a few inner-city neighborhoods that could be avoided.

On The Calendar

May 11

May 11, 2015 |

The Alexander Hamilton Award was created by the Manhattan Institute to honor those individuals helping to foster the revitalization of our nation’s cities. This year, the winners are George Kelling, co-author of the Broken Windows Theory, and Eva Moskowitz, Founder and CEO of Success Academy Charter Schools. Click to purchase tickets.

And in other news...

It’s an excellent tool that sheds light on some peculiar patterns in the city’s landscape. And they reveal a lot about how the NYC Department of Parks and Recreation makes its decisions—and how they can be making them better.