Quality Of Life Approach Helps Cut NY School Crime

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Officials in charge of safety in New York City schools are worrying about items like whether restrooms have toilet paper or does the school tolerate graffiti, the New York Times says. “If you concentrate on the small things, you will send an unequivocal message that order is the order of the day,” said safety director Rose Albanese-DePinto said. “You can look at a school the same way you look at a neighborhood.” That is what education officials say they have been trying to do for much of the last year at 16 of the city’s most troubled schools, blending attention to detail with an influx of police officers, school safety agents, and other disciplinary and support staff.

The new approach loosely imitates the successful style of combating neighborhood violence that was adopted by the Police Department under Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. Under that system, the police focus on smaller “quality of life” offenses as a way to reduce major crimes, crime patterns are tracked, and supervisors are held accountable for trends in their precincts. Preliminary statistics showed a 48 percent decrease in major crime, such as assault and grand larceny, from January through the end of the school year, at the 12 schools that were listed in January as the city’s most dangerous. A comparison of statistics for the first 15 days of school this year with the first 15 days last year for all 16 schools showed a 40 percent overall decrease in major crime. “What we’ve seen is that we were really able to stem the tide of crime at the impact schools by focusing on them like a laser,” said John Feinblatt, criminal justice coordinator for Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Link: http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/19/nyregion/19safety.html?oref=login

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