“Uniquely Insular” NYC Cop Work In Low-Crime Era

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The New York Times offers a detailed portrait about what life is like for police and residents of Manhattan’s 5th Police Precinct, which includes the Chinatown and Little Italy areas. A decade after crime began dropping, says the Times, “All but gone are the chalk outlines, the cooling bodies draped in plastic. The command to ‘move along, folks, nothing to see here’ has taken on a new meaning: there truly is nothing to see. Instead, police officers pursue a variety of tasks that just a decade ago, when 2,000 New Yorkers were killed each year, would have seemed unimaginably minor. The drop in crime has reshaped the face of policing in ways small and large, obvious and surprising.”

Compstat, the statistical analysis of crimes precinct by precinct, is “as deeply embedded in the identity of the Police Department as its badges,” the Times says. The newspaper concludes, after spending months with officers as they do their jobs, that their work “remains uniquely insular.”

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08/08/nyregion/08precinct.html?hp

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