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York University
CRIM 3654
James Sheptycki

CRIM 3654 – FALL BOOK NOTES th Readings for October 25 Kelling: Declining Crime Rates: Insiders’ Views of the New York City Story Introduction - Police played an important role in New York City crime decrease based on 3 origins: o There was a theory in action on how to prevent crime o Applied the idea in NYC subway o Bratton and Kelling struggling with issues on how to improve policing through police leadership, management and administration The “Idea” – Broken Windows - It argued that just as a broken window let untended was a sign that nobody cares and leads to more and severe property damage, so disorderly conditions and behaviours left untended send a signal that nobody cares and results in citizen fear of crime, serious crime, and “downward spiral of urban decay” - Minor offenses have serious consequences for the life of neighbourhoods and communities - Police are “law enforcement officers” whose focus is on serious crime – arresting offenders - Link between disorder, fear, and crime: o Disorder  citizen fear  withdrawal (physical & social)  increased predatory behaviour  increased crime  spiral of decline - Waiting till serious crime occurs is too late, so dealing with disorderly behaviour early prevented cycle from accelerating and perpetuating itself - In NYC subway, order maintenance gave the police an opportunity to make contact with and arrest serious offenders for minor offenses (e.g. farebeating) The Subway - Homelessness was frightening passengers and causing them to abandon the subway o Even after 8 billion dollars used to upgrade trains and tracks during mid-1980s - Intimidating behaviour of a large group of miscreants overmatched advantages accrued from graffiti elimination - In 1980s, panhandlers confronted riders, a quarter of million passengers a day were farebeaters, youths deliberately blocked turnstiles, held open emergency gates, and extorted fares from passengers o Platforms reeked from public urination and defecation o Drug and alcohol abusers and the emotionally disturbed sprawled throughout the entire system - TBD (transit police department) believed the problem was homelessness, which wasn’t their problem - Problem in the subway was properly understood as illegal disorderly behaviour, policies were developed and officers trained to deal with disorder - Reclamation of the subway stands as a major event in public policy that raised and managed complex policy, constitutional, legal, and moral issues o Hard to attribute the changes to anything other than police action - There are few private spaces – only trains, platforms, passageways, entrances and exits o If police action were to have an impact in any setting, it would be in such a restricted environment o Ideal place to test broken windows hypothesis: reduce fear of crime and prevent serious crime by restoring order - Graffiti elimination, target hardening, social services for the genuinely homeless and other factors may have played a role, but action by the TPD achieved a “tipping point” Leadership and Management - NYC is an intricate political, social, economic, and cultural entity in its own right - Crime is more complicated in the city than in the subway o Example: in subway the serious crime problem is grab and run robbery, which are seen as less ominous than many confrontational robberies on city streets - More complex control systems operate in the city – from neighbourhood life, schools, churches, family, workplace, etc - Since 1970s, business of the NYPD had become “staying out of trouble” – and to do so was to do nothing o Too much abuse and corruption, too much corruption control, and not enough quality policing o Many police squads had weekends off - Bratton approached his commissionership in NYC with a clear plan o Had an idea how to prevent crime, had an organizational strategy to implement, and had pre-tested both with great success in NYC subways o Strategy was management guided by theory o Produced specific plans for dealing with specific problems such as guns, youth violence, domestic violence, quality of life, etc. Conclusion - When confronted by disorder, crime and mayhem, NYC moved to reassert control over disorderly behaviour, fear, and crime - Limits to what could be accomplished without an active police presence o Things were allowed to deteriorate for so long, aggressive youths had been emboldened so much so that they virtually dominated public spaces in many communities o In the midst of the crack epidemic, their violence spun out of control - The restoration of assertive policing in 1994 and 1995 interacted with community forces to achieve a tipping point in violent and other forms of crime o Communities and police could not have done it alone - Why did this happen? Kelling states: o Inner-city neighbourhoods in 1950s-1970s were torn apart, no provisions were made for displaced residents, so naturally they moved into adjacent neighbourhoods. Because many of those displaced were black people, property values were undercut and scared other residents into moving. Expanded tenant rights made it virtually impossible to evict troublemakers regardless of their behaviour. Expressway construction cut wide swaths through communities, displacing entire neighbourhoods. To ensure children would not be stigmatized, the idea of early identification of predelinquents was abandoned. o Equally disastrous police and criminal justice policies grew from 1960s presidential commission on law enforcement and administration of justice:  Poverty, racism and economic injustices caused crime, so to eliminate it police began to arrest and process offenders. Defenders of community policing believed police could not deal with poverty and racism so they could do little about crime, leading to the crime problem being de-policed. Political far right believed crime was caused by breakdown of family values associated with welfare. Crime prevention held hostage between both ideologies – economic redistribution or elimination of welfare o Aside from community policing, criminal justice innovations were limited to more certain and longer incarceration Kelly: Reconsidering Sustainability: some implications for community-based crime prevention Sustainability and Community-based Crime Prevention Initiatives - Sustainability grew out of concerns of the environmental movement over the long-term, negative consequences of economic development (pollution, ecological degradation, etc) - Growing recognition of the interdependence of the economy with the environment and the human conditions - Focus was on: 1) economy, 2) environment, and 3) equity o Addition of equity brought a link to broader concerns surrounding the nature of communities and made concept more applicable to areas beyond sustainable economic development o Equity closely associated with issues of social justice - Crime prevention through social development has brought equity concerns to an area previously informed by conventional and particularistic situational crime prevention strategies - CPSD (Crime Prevention Through Social Development) is based on the assumption that social development is of intrinsic value. It assumes that more developed communities and communities with more capacity are safer and healthier places to live. It recognizes the relationship between crime and the social, environmental, political and economic context within which it occurs. Seeks to address the root causes of crime by investing in individuals, families and communities. It requires that prevention activities be undertaken within a social development framework - Due to the top-down approach being viewed as insensitive during the post-war period, by the mid-1960s the need for bottom-up, culturally and environmentally sensitive approaches were emphasized - Traditional crime prevention fails because it utilizes a strategy that is non-integrated, that isolates prevention activity from the surrounding social context and fails to consider local community needs, priorities and capacity - Traditional approach includes situational crime prevention strategies such as target hardening, which seeks to make the commission of crime more difficult by introducing better locks and security systems or making the reward of crime less attractive and more costly to obtain - Crime Prevention Through Environmental design is another traditional approach. Attempts to reduce crime by altering the physical environment and making it less conducive to crime. It calls for such things as better lighting, clearer sightlines and redesigning public spaces to make them unattractive for criminal activity - These traditional approaches are typically project-oriented and reflect a top-down decision making process
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