CIVIC CENTER — Outgoing Police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday slammed a report criticizing Broken Windows policing by the NYPD Inspector General, calling it the work of “amateurs.”
The report — which found no correlation between quality-of-life summonses and a drop in felony offenses — was issued in June after the IG, under the auspices of the Department of Investigation, analyzed enforcement data from 2010 to 2015.
"Quality in, quality out. I'm not sure of the quality of the researchers at the [Inspector General's office]," he said at a press conference about the report. "The city spends a lot of money on that — you're going to need experts, not amateurs. We have a lot of experts in the NYPD."
NYPD officials called it a “veiled attack” on Broken Windows, which was a cornerstone of Bratton’s crime reduction strategies starting in the mid-1990s.
“Going back as far as 1978, in the streets of the Fenway, I have seen community complaints about quality of life conditions dominate conversations between the community and the police,” Bratton said in a statement released about the report.
“The NYPD’s Neighborhood Coordination Officer Program re-affirms what I learned all those years ago, that neighborhood residents expect action on the part of the police regarding lesser crimes and signs of disorder. Enforcement targeting these conditions has become known as 'quality-of-life' policing, and it has been frequently disparaged as a vehicle of oppression that creates racially disparate outcomes. That could not be further from the truth. This type of policing is an essential tool of community engagement and trust building, most often in direct response to community concerns. Quality of life policing will remain a key strategy for the NYPD.”
Apart from questioning a correlation between quality-of-life summonses and crime reduction, the IG report also said the tactics could have unintended consequences.
“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,” the report stated.
But police officials countered that they were responding to complaints from “diverse communities through both 311 and 911” and that quality-of-life policing has been going on for 21 years, during which time “both city and state prison populations have fallen.”
The DOI defended the report as based on “objective statistical evidence” that “certain specific NYPD strategies” are not linked to a reduction in violent crime.
“The NYPD, in its response, provides no similar data or analysis to refute this finding,” spokeswoman Nicole Turso said in a statement. “This is no small point: The tactics at issue — summonses for several quality of life offenses — have been a source of complaint and tension in many of New York's communities and thus require careful review of the type we provided to avoid overuse.”
After Bratton slammed the team behind the OIG's report as "amateurs," Turso said the report was produced by a "multidisciplinary team of experts" with "years of work on various criminal justice, policing, and police accountability issues, and Ph.Ds in Criminal Justice and Criminology, along with graduate work in applied statistics, policy analysis and law."
Turso also noted that Inspector General Philip K. Eure has over ten years of experience with the U.S. Department of Justice, and over a decade as head of the Office of Police Complaints, an oversight agency in Washington, D.C., and that the OIG-NYPD team is led by Mayor Bill de Blasio's own appointee, Department of Investigation Commissioner Mark Peters.