NEW YORK (WABC) -- How to keep New Yorkers safe? That simple question is turning into a complicated debate.
There are fears about unequal enforcement, mostly from black New Yorkers distrustful of the police, now sparking worries.
Despite a drop in approval ratings for New York City Police and Commissioner William Bratton, both got a show of support from the mayor and from Reverend Al Sharpton.
When Bratton served under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, Sharpton said he didn't speak at all with Bratton. Now he says Bratton is different and fair, despite some serious concerns.
A Quinnipiac University poll released shows widespread support for what's called the "Broken Window Theory" of policing, of tackling small problems before they become big; things like marijuana use or minor vandalism.
"The notion that we need to address small problems before they become big problems is equally true. I think the poll today certainly indicates how broadly felt that is around the city," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
But Al Sharpton has complained the policy often unfairly targets black and Hispanic young men.
The poll shows 60% support broken window policing, 34% do not.
"What my concern was, is you can't treat our community one way and other communities another way. Now that does not mean we do not want to see crimes prosecuted," Sharpton said.
The poll also gives police the lowest approval rating in 14 years. 50% approve of the job they're doing, 42% do not.
The figures have dropped in part because of the Eric Garner chokehold case.
68% of New Yorkers asked call police conduct in that case inexcusable, 24% say it's understandable.
But the city's top cop says he's not troubled by this latest polling.
Commissioner William Bratton said "I'm grateful but not surprised that New Yorkers understand and support quality of life enforcement initiatives."
Approval ratings drop for NYPD and commissioner in new poll
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