May 26, 2015

The myth of broken windows law enforcement

Socialst Worker - Broken Windows refers to an aggressive strategy of policing that focuses on going after so-called "quality of life" offensesm like urinating in a non-bathroom (due to a lack of public restrooms), riding a bike on the sidewalk (due to an absence of bike lanes) and loitering (a.k.a. existing) in public spaces--all of which can earn you a summons to appear in court and plead guilty before a judge or face going to trial.

Painted by the corporate media as a community improvement initiative, Broken Windows is actually the opposite. It visits unnecessary harassment, trauma and sometimes death--in case of Eric Garner--on mostly Black and Brown communities, while generating revenue and facilitating gentrification and unaffordable housing development across the city.

Bratton's remarks came after the release of a Qunnipiac poll, which showed that while 57 percent of all New York City voters approve of Broken Windows, a majority of those between 18 and 34 are against it. ,

Meanwhile, Bratton and City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito are in the midst of a campaign to add 1,000 more police officers to the 34,500-strong NYPD for the next fiscal year, beginning on July 1.

Many question the logic of bloating the force at a time when crime and arrest rates are steadily decreasing and funding for actual quality-of-life and community improvement initiatives--such as public housing repairs and school budgets--are falling well short of what is needed.

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