NYPD challenges results of investigation into Broken Windows policing

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The New York City Police Department is defending its so-called broken windows policing policy.

Commissioner William Bratton claims a Department of Investigations report is not legitimate, comprehensive or based on sound data.

The report, "An Analysis of Quality-of-Life Summonses, Quality-of-Life Misdemeanor Arrests, and Felony Crime in New York City, 2010 to 2015," refuted the claim that enforcement of quality-of-life crimes reduces felonies.

In response, the NYPD issued a response entitled "Broken Windows is Not Broken."

"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. "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."

The DOI, however, stood by its findings, which it said produced objective statistical evidence that certain specific NYPD strategies do not have a measurable link to a reduction in violent crime.

"The NYPD, in its response, provides no similar data or analysis to refute this finding," the DOI 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."

The NYPD said quality-of-life enforcement in minority communities closely reflects complaints made through both 311 and 911 calls, as well as community meetings and public opinion polls.

According to the DOI report, there was a dramatic decline in quality-of-life enforcement between 2010 and 2015 with no increase in felony crime. It did not, however, challenge the proper use of summonses and misdemeanor arrests, nor did it make findings regarding quality-of-life policing overall or the much broader concept of the Broken Windows policing strategy. Rather, the investigation found that given the costs of summons and misdemeanor arrest activity -- including an increased use of police resources, a greater number of individuals brought into the criminal justice system, and the impact on police/community relations -- the NYPD should use its data to more carefully evaluate how quality-of-life summonses and misdemeanor arrests fit into its overall strategy for disorder reduction and crime control.

The full report -- An Analysis of Quality-of-Life Summonses, Quality-of-Life Misdemeanor Arrests, and Felony Crime in New York City, 2010-2015 -- can be found on the Office of the Inspector General website.
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