Reducing Crime… by Reducing Penalties?

The Story

Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito got support from New York Court of Appeals Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman this week for her plan to decriminalize so-called minor offenses like public urination and open consumption of alcohol. Making offenders go to court, it seems, is an inconvenience for the violators and an administrative headache for judges and court officers. NYPD Commissioner Bratton, with support from Mayor de Blasio, opposes any legislative efforts to curb the Broken Windows strategy that he pioneered, and which he credits with driving down crime across the city.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. This is hardly the time to retreat from successful police practices: while crime is still at historic lows in New York City, murders and shootings are up significantly over both one- and two-year periods. But equally disturbing, though less mentioned, is the sharp spike in rape and other sex crimes. Read more

  2. As social scientists have shown in a series of robust field studies, public disorder encourages criminal behavior. Read more

  3. New Yorkers across demographic lines favor the issuance of summonses or actual arrest for quality-of-life offenses. Read more

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

This Works: Crime Prevention and the Future of Broken Windows Policing By William Bratton, James Q. Wilson, George Kelling, et al. (April 2004)

In 1990 nobody would have ever believed that New York City could become what it is today, arguably the safest large city in this country.

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...

Coyotes are all the rage as the wily critters have been spotted in city parks, on rooftops and even on the streets in recent days.