Tracking Gangs Keeps New York City Safe

The Story


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A recent report from Brooklyn College claims that the NYPD’s maintenance of a database of gang members unfairly criminalizes social networks among young black and Latino men and should be abolished. But the report, based almost entirely on anecdotes, does not accurately reflect the reality of violent crime in New York City. The gang database is a legitimate tool of law enforcement that improves neighborhood safety in communities where gangs fester.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Roots: The report claims that violent crime is caused by poverty and other social ills–but 30 years ago, when there was much more violence in New York City, the poverty rate was lower. Read more.

  2. Intelligence: Tracking criminal networks is an essential element of the data-driven style of “precision” policing that has made New York City so safe. Read more.

  3. Murder: A startlingly high percentage of homicides in New York are gang-related. Read more.

“This database is a central tool in addressing a real problem in this city.”

Mayor de Blasio

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

How New York Is Winning the Drug War By Patrick J. Harnett, William Andrews (Summer, 1999)

“Using an innovative strategy that author Harnett put in place when he became head of the New York Police Department’s Narcotics Division, the NYPD has dismantled some 900 drug gangs citywide, crippling the street drug trade. And the strategy has helped fuel New York’s overall crime decline, as well. From 1996 through 1998, it accounted for nearly a third of Gotham’s homicide decline.”

And in other news...

“New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday vetoed a bill that would have legalized electric bikes in state, saying he had safety concerns about the legislation.”