Surveys and Safety

The Story

As part of a new public relations campaign, the NYPD plans to conduct smartphone surveys of city residents about their satisfaction with policing. Ostensibly an extension of Compstat, the real-time database of New York City crime that has helped drive crime down to historic lows, the survey is part of a police effort to show a kinder, gentler face to the community. Yet the simple truth is that people feel the most satisfaction with police when their communities are safe and free from violence and crime.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Safer: An intensive focus on quality-of-life offenses—known as Broken Windows policing—led to an 85% decline in the New York City murder rate. Read more.

  2. Undermining Safety: A blue-ribbon panel led by retired chief judge Jonathan Lippmann has called for the decriminalization of prostitution, marijuana possession, and fare-beating in order to cut the number of people in jail by half. Read more.

  3. Ferguson Effect: The nationwide myth that the police are at war with racial-minority communities has led to “de-policing” and a consequent rise in the murder rate in cities other than New York. Read more.

“More than 10,000 minority males are alive today in New York who would have been dead if the city's homicide rate had remained at its early 1990s levels.”

Heather Mac Donald, Thomas W. Smith Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Contagion of Public Disorder By George L. Kelling (Spring 1991)

“In 1990, more people were murdered in New York City than ever before. In fact, by late November of 1990, every single murder set another new record.”