The New York Police Department is on the defensive about its long-standing approach known as "broken windows" policing, reported NPR.
Simply put, broken windows is the idea that police should aggressively crack down on low-level offenses to stop bigger crimes from happening. It's been copied all over the country, but now critics in New York say broken windows needs fixing.
"Our goal is a simple one: Make the system more just," City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito says. "Jumping a turnstile at 16 should not mark you for the rest of your life."
Detractors of the approach say far too many New Yorkers — mostly poor, and mostly people of color — are arrested or ticketed for so-called quality of life crimes. Such offenses include riding a bike on the sidewalk, drinking on the street, jumping a subway turnstile — or just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Defenders of broken windows policing say the statistics are on their side. And so is the man who's largely responsible for making the approach famous in New York some 20 years ago: the city's police commissioner, William Bratton.
"I can assure you that quality-of-life policing will continue, and continue very assertively in this city," Bratton says. "It's what made this city safe in the first place."
Major crime of all kinds is down almost 80 percent in New York since the bad old days of the 1990s, during Bratton's first tour as police commissioner. Exactly why crime dropped so much is a matter of debate.
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