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How Rudy Giuliani cleaned up NYC City with conservative practices

NY POST, 5/15/12 -- When I first ran for mayor in 1989, I lost the race. I realized afterward that if I wanted to run again and win, I needed the equivalent of a graduate degree in how to turn around one of the world’s largest cities. I began to meet with experts in all areas.


Retaking the streets: Cracking down on the squeegee guys, who molested motorists, was an idea that came out of James Q. Wilson’s theory.

I was especially interested in law enforcement. I had grown up with police officers and pored over issues of Spring 3100, the New York City Police Department’s in-house magazine, as a child. In the years since, I’d noticed that police officers had become better equipped and better trained and were solving crimes more intelligently than ever before. So why wouldn’t the crime rate drop?

New York tried adding more beat cops and running social programs to keep youth out of gangs; none of these steps dented the increasingly appalling crime statistics in a very dangerous Big Apple.

In the early days of Rudy University, we met with George Kelling, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, who, with James Q. Wilson, had written an article called “Broken Windows” in March 1982 in The Atlantic Monthly. I’d worked closely with Wilson in 1981, when he was cochair of the Task Force on Violent Crime and I was the associate attorney general.

In New York during the 1980s and 1990s, local government seemed to have conceded defeat. The city would actually put stickers of plants and venetian blinds in the windows of abandoned buildings to disguise the decay. But Wilson had a revelation about crime: Focus on the small crimes, such as littering, and keep neighborhoods clean and free of signs of disorder, such as broken windows. The big idea was: If the neighborhood looks as if someone is watching and maintaining order, it’s far more likely that order will prevail.

A clean and well-ordered neighborhood sends a signal to criminals and citizens alike. Instead of putting up stickers to hide the decay, Wilson’s theory said that you should remove the decay — and that this would save the neighborhood.

Wilson’s idea reversed the conventional wisdom up to that point. The dominant liberal theories told us that if we provided more social services to the poor, perhaps crime would get better. But Wilson suggested that, instead, we turn our attention to providing a better and cleaner place to live, raising the expectations of the community by improving the quality of life — and that then crime would decline.

When I became mayor in 1993, I couldn’t wait to test Wilson’s theory. I began, with Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, to focus on the squeegee guys, who disturbed and frightened visitors to the city, wiping down their windshields and demanding payment. We moved them off the streets, and there was an immediate feeling that low-level criminals were no longer in control and that New York City was livable again.

We also decided to use Deputy Police Commissioner Jack Maple’s CompStat, a system that could detect patterns in crime. This allowed us to implement Broken Windows theory.

Beat policing hadn’t been working because the beats had become predictable. With CompStat, we could review each night’s data the next morning and deploy police officers accordingly. We knew from day to day exactly what was happening where in the city, and we stopped more crimes from occurring. We learned to stop a crime wave before it began to affect the quality of life in a community noticeably.

New York City’s decrease in crime is already legendary, and similar drops have occurred in many cities, thanks to Wilson’s theory. Los Angeles, Austin and Philadelphia, to name a few, use CompStat. Harvard University did a major study of the Broken Windows theory in Lowell, Mass., in 2005, and concluded that it worked.

The loss of James Q. Wilson this year is a loss to us all. He was that rare academic whose ideas could be put into action and improve the quality of life. His Broken Windows theory changed the face of modern policing. Wilson’s ideas have been borne out by studies and are now taught in universities. The greatest evidence of his success surrounds us — a resurgent city and thousands of New Yorkers who are alive today because of his radical solution to a tidal wave of crime.

Rudolph W. Giuliani was New York City mayor from 1994-2001. Adapted from City Journal.


SOURCE: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/saving_broken_city_ktuDrZuvfrbVd3yw1UWiGJ


Added: May-16-2012 
By: gorgonzatropolis
In:
Regional News, Other News, Other
Tags: crime, conservative, giuliani, new york city, NYC
Location: New York, New York, United States (load item map)
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