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New York Post

 

Nothing Rivals NYC's Crime Drop

October 27, 2013

By Heather Mac Donald

PRINTER FRIENDLY

Only ignorance about the city’s public-safety triumph can explain why New Yorkers are willing to risk that success for the thrill of voting for a "progressive" mayor who’s made attacking the New York Police Department the centerpiece of his campaign.

Too many voters have never grasped the immensity of the city’s public-safety advantage over every other American metropolis, nor the reasons for it.

New York Times columnist Michael Powell displayed that ignorance last week, conflating the national and the local crime declines since the early ’90s to opine: "Policing had a hand in [that] decline, along with demographics and the brave willingness of neighborhoods to organize and fight back."

Wrong: The New York and the national crime declines are not the same phenomenon, and policing is the sole source of New York’s massive margin of success over the rest of the country.

New York’s crime drop has been twice as deep and lasted twice as long as the national average.

In the ’90s, the local press incessantly promoted other cities’ crime records as rivals to New York’s, so desperate was it to discredit the idea that New York’s dependency-routing Republican mayor and his newly assertive police department were behind the New York turnaround. Yet, by decade’s end, those other cities’ crime declines most notably San Diego’s and Boston’s flattened out or reversed.

The criminology profession told us New York’s crime decline was surely over, too. Andrew Karmen, a sociologist at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, predicted in 2000: "It is probable that another crime wave will engulf the city in the near future."

Wrong again. Homicides in New York, already down a remarkable 72 percent over the prior decade, fell another 36 percent from 2001 to 2012, and all major felonies went down another 31 percent, while crime in the rest of the country stayed flat. No criminologist foresaw the continuation of New York’s crime rout.

Today, Boston’s murder rate is twice New York’s; Washington DC’s is three times New York’s; Baltimore’s, five times. If New York’s blacks faced the same homicide risk as San Diego’s blacks, our city’s overall homicide rate would be nearly 75 percent higher.

Policing alone explains the New York crime-fighting difference. New York was nearly the same city in 1990 and 2010 regarding the same liberal "root causes" of crime income inequality, poverty and drug use have not diminished. Even conservatives’ own pet "root cause" of crime illegitimacy hasn’t improved.

As for demographics, Manhattan’s black population did drop in the last two decades, which could explain that borough’s crime decline, but the other large boroughs had nearly comparable crime drops with a much more stable racial mix.

Yet New York’s crime rate fell twice as far as in the rest of the country. The only significant input that changed in New York since the early ’90s was its style of policing.

In 1994, under then-Commissioner William Bratton, the NYPD embraced the revolutionary idea of stopping crime before it happens, rather than just reacting after the fact by making an arrest. It began scrutinizing crime data daily and targeting its resources to where crime patterns were emerging. Top brass held precinct commanders ruthlessly accountable for the safety of their precincts. And the department expected its officers to look out for suspicious behavior on the street and to stop and question individuals who may be preparing for a crime.

NYPD naysayers routinely point out that crime locally and nationally started dropping in 1991. What they fail to add is that in New York alone, starting in 1994, that drop went into freefall.

But New York’s ’90s crime drop could easily have petered out, as the rest of the country’s did had the NYPD not maintained its sense of urgency in fighting crime. Preserving that urgency is the hardest challenge that departments face, and it is a testament to Commissioner Ray Kelly’s untiring stewardship that he has kept the department focused like a laser beam on public safety for over a decade.

That focus is now under dire threat. The NYPD is about to come under the thumb of two competing power sources: a federal monitor, appointed by Judge Shira Scheindlin as part of her shockingly biased ruling against the NYPD’s stop-question-and-frisk policies, and the City Council’s recklessly created Inspector General. These superfluous new bureaucrats can only muddy the chain of command and distract the NYPD from its paramount duty of protecting the law-abiding.

Original Source: http://nypost.com/2013/10/27/nothing-rivals-nycs-crime-drop/

 

 
 
 

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