Departing Bratton Defends ‘Broken Windows’ Policing

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William Bratton. Photo by Policy Exchange via Flickr

When the inspector general of the New York Police Department said this summer that cracking down on minor offenses such as public urination had no effect on reducing more serious crimes, department officials called the methodology “deeply flawed.” Yesterday, in an unusually forceful rebuke, the police department rolled out its own detailed report that blasted the watchdog agency while defending the ”broken windows” approach to policing, a philosophy that has long defined how officers in the city have approached crime-fighting, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The critical report “is of no value at all, and inappropriately represents the efforts of this department over the last 25 years,” said Police Commissioner William Bratton. The rebuttal and Bratton’s comments appeared to be less about the report than about defending a cornerstone of the commissioner’s policing career as he prepares to step down this month. City Councilman Rory Lancman said, “Broken windows’ time has passed. It’s a model that’s harming police-community relations and safety in general. He just can’t evolve.” The city Department of Investigation, which oversees the inspector general, said the agency stands by its report. “The NYPD, in its response, provides no similar data or analysis to refute this finding,” said a spokeswoman. Inspector General Philip Eure’s report looked at summonses and arrests over a five-year period and determined there was no correlation between quality-of-life enforcement and felony crime. The report also criticized the NYPD for focusing enforcement of low-level offenses on minority communities.

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