Dan Gilmore / May 20, 2015

NYC Mulls Stepping Back From Broken Window Policing

The man who brought the broken window policing strategy to the New York Police Department seemed to chuck a brick through his own theory Thursday. Speaking on a New York radio station, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said, “We can in some respects change the penalty process, change the process that has become cumbersome and unfair.” New York was once a notoriously dangerous place, but Bratton cleaned up the Big Apple in the ‘90s by strictly enforcing quality-of-life offenses, arresting people for public drinking, graffiti and riding a bike on a sidewalk. Now, Bratton said the policy might have been implemented too strictly. He suggests handing out fines instead of pulling out the cuffs. This is part of the reason why the city is considering granting amnesty to 1.2 million NYC residents who ran afoul with broken window policing, skipped a court date, and now have a warrant out for their arrest. On one hand, New York’s nitpicking laws have created criminals of people who have committed a little more than a faux pas. It’s court system is inundated, and this is what happens when stupid things are against the law. On the other hand, perhaps now we can expect the crime rate to go up when NYC announces that Rule of Law no longer applies.

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