It’s not everyday that someone comes up with a great idea that changes things for the better. When it does it’s a wondrous thing to behold. Then comes the inevitable. There will be individuals and groups who fail to appreciate what has happened. A problem was solved but then we find out there are people who either don’t understand it, or even worse — they don’t want solutions. They have their own reasons for that and it’s a waste of time to try to discern them. That almost never make sense.
Broken Windows policing is what turned New York City from a crime-ridden hellhole in the 1980s and early 1990s into a livable city beginning sometime after January 1, 1994. The significance of that date is that it’s the date Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor. He adopted the idea of Broken Windows policing based on the scholarship of George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson.
Doomberg Bloomberg continued that policy, to his credit. That’s all the credit he gets, but he does deserve credit for one thing. Current Mayor De Blasio has taken a wrong turn that is going to increase crime in the City. He has declared that turnstile jumpers in the Subway will no longer be arrested or even stopped for a lecture. Other petty offenses will likewise be ignored. In other words, the very essence of what made broken windows policing work so well to reduce crime overall is being abandoned. This won’t end well. Failure to enforce minor crimes leads to more major crimes. Empirical data bears this out, time and time again.
A Wall Street Journal article points this out: The Idea That Made America’s Cities Safer — Thirty years ago crime was out of control. Then came “Broken Windows” policing. Are politicians forgetting its lessons?
Yeah, they are. It’s sad. Let’s hope they wake up in time.
If you have questions on just what is broken windows policing, please read my previous posts on it: