The proposed “broken windows” strategy for cutting crime in Denver has been applied in Newark, N.J., for nearly 10 years, and the results are startling, says the Rocky Mountain News. Violent crime there has been cut by nearly 73 percent, and property crime is down 58 percent. Newark officials said the experiment has succeeded because both top police brass and line officers have bought into it. In recent years, however, the city’s homicide rate has increased and car thefts are up. Even “broken windows” proponents say that other factors have played a role in the decline.
Mike Wagers, involved in the Newark effort and a consultant working closely with Denver on its plans, said drug-use patterns and incarceration times also can be a factor. Overall, the strategy is a success, Newark police Director Anthony Ambrose said. The News says that “Newark has gone from a city that was out of control, to one where people have started to inch back into the city center.” At the heart of the program is an intensive data collection effort to find out where crime is happening. Wagers lists four keys: timely intelligence, rapid response, effective tactics, and follow-up. Critics have said the entire nation witnessed crime reductions in the 1990 and that many significant drops occurred in places that didn’t use the broken-windows approach.