NYPD Tries to Prevent Robberies by Intervening With Likely Criminals


New York City police have a novel approach to deter juvenile robbers, staging interventions and force-feeding outreach to stem robberies by dissuading those most likely to commit them, reports the New York Times. Detectives monitor Facebook pages and Twitter accounts of teens in the Juvenile Robbery Intervention Program (J-RIP), and of their criminal associates. Police create a dummy Facebook page – perhaps with a fake profile of an attractive girl – and send out “friend requests” as bait to get beyond the social network's privacy settings. Officers drop in at homes and schools and drive up to teens in the streets, shouting friendly hellos, in front of their friends. The Intelligence Division deciphers each teen's street name and gang affiliation. Detectives compile a binder on each teenager that includes photos from Facebook and arrest photos of associates, like the flow charts generated by law enforcement officials to track organized crime. The idea, in part, is to isolate teenagers from the peers with whom they commit crimes – to make them radioactive. “I'm not aware of any police department nationally coming up with the same strategy or replicating what the NYPD has done here,” said David Kennedy of the Center for Crime Prevention and Control at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. The program builds, in part, on Kennedy's successful homicide-reduction strategy, Operation Ceasefire, that began in Boston in the 1990s and was implemented in scores of cities.

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