Report: No Link Between Quality-of-Life Crime, Felonies


A data analysis found no link between enforcement of low-level quality-of-life crimes and the felony crime rate, the office charged with overseeing New York City’s police department said Wednesday.

The report took pains to make clear it was not commenting on the NYPD’s overall “broken windows” policing approach, but critics of the policy said the findings were proof that going after low-level crimes as a way of deterring larger ones doesn’t work. The NYPD called the report flawed.

The NYPD’s independent inspector general looked at data for offenses like public drinking from 2010 to 2015, as well as felony arrest data. In that period, the number of summonses and misdemeanor arrests issued for those acts decreased, but there was no increase in felony crime. “What we found is,” said DOI Commissioner Mark Peters, “it’s not a very efficient way to deal with felony crime.”

The report also found that low-level crime enforcement was concentrated in precincts that had high proportions of blacks and Hispanics, public housing residents and males between the ages of 15 and 20.

The NYPD pushed back strongly, calling the report “deeply flawed.” They said that the comparison should have gone back to 1990, before broken windows was implemented. The NYPD said it would be releasing a detailed response within 90 days.