“How lovely when we see the police! They are my friends.”
So burst out an elderly lady attending a police-community meeting in the Bronx several years ago. Her voice is representative of the thousands of senior citizens, middle-aged workers, and small business owners who fervently support the New York Police Department. These vulnerable New Yorkers want more police presence, not less; they view officers as their only protection against predation.
What will the activists seeking to defund the NYPD tell these law-abiding residents — that they are now on their own?
The people who live in high-crime neighborhoods understand more about policing than the anti-cop agitators. Since the early 1990s, when the homicide toll in New York City was more than 2,000 a year, tens of thousands of minority lives have been saved, thanks to the NYPD’s fiercely responsive, data-driven policing.
That policing model, known as Compstat, holds precinct commanders ruthlessly accountable for crime in their jurisdiction; it has driven homicide down 86 percent from 1990, to 319 in 2019. Most of the lives that would have been lost had killings remained at their early 1990s levels have been black and Hispanic.
Heather Mac Donald is the Thomas W. Smith fellow at the Manhattan Institute, contributing editor at City Journal, and the author of the bestselling War on Cops and The Diversity Delusion. This piece was adapted from City Journal. Follow her on Twitter here.
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