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'Broken Windows' Policy Doesn't Work, NYPD Watchdog Says

By Trevor Kapp | June 22, 2016 4:06pm
 The Department of Investigation released a report about the NYPD's quality-of-life arrest strategy on Wednesday.
The Department of Investigation released a report about the NYPD's quality-of-life arrest strategy on Wednesday.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

MIDTOWN — Broken windows policing may be broken, according to a blistering new report by the Office of Inspector General for the NYPD.

A six-year analysis by the NYPD IG, which falls under the Department of Investigation, has found there’s no correlation between the number of quality-of-life summonses issued for offenses like public urination and alcohol consumption and the drop in felony crime.

“Between 2010 and 2015, quality-of-life enforcement rates — and in particular, quality-of-life summons rates — have dramatically declined, but there has been no commensurate increase in felony crime,” the report states.

The NYPD issued almost 2 million quality-of-life summonses over that six-year stretch, the report states.

“Issuing summonses and making misdemeanor arrests are not cost free,” the report states.

“The cost is paid in police time, in an increase in the number of people brought into the criminal justice system and, at times, in a graying of the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.”

But the OIG acknowledged there are several legitimate reasons to issue low-level summonses, namely to address community concerns and police the offenses in question.

It recommended the NYPD take a hard look the data and assess the relative effectiveness of quality-of-life summonses, misdemeanor arrests and other disorder reduction strategies.

The OIG also suggested the department look into whether low-level enforcement disproportionately impacts young black and Hispanics as well as NYCHA residents.

The NYPD slammed the IG's findings, calling the report "deeply flawed."

"The report fails to acknowledge what all New York City residents know: That every community in the city is safer and has a better quality of life due in large part to the extensive quality of life enforcement efforts and proactive policing that was implemented in 1994 by the New York City Police Department," according to a statement by Deputy Commissioner for Public Information Stephen Davis.

Current Police Commissioner Bill Bratton also lead the police department when the tactic began. It has been imitated widely across the country.

He promised to release a fuller response within 90 days.

NYPD critics said the report is just further proof of what they already knew.

“This report provides more objective confirmation that ‘Broken Windows’ policing is not based on evidence related to public safety, but relies on an ideology that regressively labels some New Yorkers as criminal in a discriminatory way,” said Monifa Bandele, a spokeswoman for Communities United for Police Reform.