Inspector general: 'broken windows' policing doesn't reduce felonies

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It is the cornerstone of Police Commissioner Bill Bratton's "broken windows" policing: that if you crack down on low-level quality-of-life crimes, like public urination and drinking alcohol in public, that will lead to a reduction in more serious crimes. But a report from the NYPD's inspector general with the city's Department of Investigation says that is not true.

DOI Commissioner Mark Peters says the assumption that increasing summonses for quality-of-life crimes will reduce felonies has no statistical basis.

The Office of the Inspector General conducted an independent examination of more than 2 million quality-of-life criminal summonses and misdemeanor arrests between 2010 and 2015. During that time, the number of quality-of-life summonses dramatically declined but felony crime did not increase.

The NYPD's response was swift. It called the inspector general's report deeply flawed. A statement says in part: "... the report uses a narrow five year time period when overall crime rates have declined in New York City for more than two decades. To properly evaluate the impact of quality of life enforcement, the inspector general should have gone back to 1990 when there was a record number of murders, shootings and violent crimes."

Richard Aborn is the president of the Citizens Crime Commission, which is an independent public watchdog organization. He supports having an inspector general oversee the NYPD. However, he said that the report is not accurate. He said that the NYPD has been driving down crime in the city for decades. He said he doesn't believe the department should be micromanaged.

The inspector general said his report should force the NYPD to re-examine its policing strategy.