Government Report Shows Broken Windows Policing Doesn’t Make New York Safer

Affiliate: ACLU of New York
June 23, 2016 3:30 pm

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The Department of Investigation’s Office of the Inspector General for the NYPD on Wednesday released a report that looked at the relationship between quality-of-life policing and serious crime. The report showed quality-of-life summons activity between 2010 and 2015 dramatically declined with no increase in felony crime. The results bolster what the New York Civil Liberties Union has known for years: the NYPD’s use of broken windows policing doesn’t make anyone safer.

The report also found that a disproportionate number of low-level summonses were issued in neighborhoods with high proportions of black and Hispanic residents and that “felony crime rates do not explain the increased summonses.”

The following statement can be attributed to NYCLU Advocacy Director, Johanna Miller:

“The Inspector General’s report confirms what advocates have known for years—the NYPD’s use of broken windows policing doesn’t make anyone safer. Instead, it erodes community confidence in the police and introduces millions of people into the criminal justice system.“

“One thing that is missing from the report is an analysis of who bears the brunt of this enforcement. The NYPD has not kept records of the demographics of people who get summonses for many years. We estimate from our own analysis that more than 80 percent of people receiving summonses are black or Latino.”

“Just last week, the State Assembly passed a bill called the Police STAT Act which would allow the public and policy makers to look at demographic data on low-level enforcement for all police departments across the state. The State Senate must act on this legislation next session: We have wasted too much time and damaged too many lives by making public safety decisions in the dark.”

“In New York City, the recently passed Criminal Justice Reform Act takes much-needed steps toward mitigating some of the harms of broken windows by encouraging officers to steer people accused of certain low-level offenses into civil court where they will not be shackled with criminal records. The

City Council should be praised for these criminal justice reforms but policing reforms, including the Right to Know Act, must be passed hand-in-hand for a safer and fairer city.”

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