Sunday, August 10, 2008

Can Policing Effect Crime?

You bet!

The NYPD Diaspora by Heather Mac Donald, City Journal Summer 2008 This is mostly the story of José Cordero who moved from NYPD to East Orange, New Jersey. Quite a change occurred after he introduced Compstat. (Click on the graph!)
East Orange, New Jersey, has 70,000 citizens by official counts, about 95 percent of them black, and deep pockets of poverty. Crime there—much of it violent—had started skyrocketing in 1999, reaching a per-capita rate in 2003 that was 14 times that of New York City and five times that of Detroit. East Orange’s mayor recruited Cordero to quell the violence; Cordero started work in 2004. The results were astonishing. By the end of 2007, major felonies had dropped 68 percent, and homicides 67 percent, from their 2003 high—possibly a national record. (By comparison, from 1993, the year before Bratton arrived in New York City, through 1997, major felonies in New York dropped 41 percent and homicides 60 percent.) East Orange’s remarkable experience should give pause to criminologists, who too often ascribe crime drops to anything but policing reforms.
Other folks from NYPD have gone to other areas and had some success, but there have been problems too.
Union recalcitrance has driven some New York stars away from new jobs. John Timoney left the Philadelphia department, where he had little ability to put his top picks into leadership positions, “fed up with banging my head against the wall” with the unions over officer discipline and personnel decisions, he says. Former NYPD intelligence commander Dan Oates left the Ann Arbor department, he reports, frustrated with the power of Michigan’s labor law to “crush positive change.”
The union in Newark is also fighting against change. So much for serving and protecting. More like protecting their overtime and seniority rules.

The sad thing is, we know how to stop crime, but we don't appear to want to.

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