August 1, 2006

Another amazin' story you don't hear much about...

From a great article in City Journal (Thanks to Pepys)

New York City has shattered criminology’s central myth, but criminologists remain in denial. Policing, they still insist, can do little to lower crime. Economic inequality, demographic trends, changing drug-use patterns—these determine crime levels, they say, not police tactics. Nevertheless, since 1994, New York City has enjoyed a crime drop unmatched in the rest of the country—indeed, unparalleled in history—and only Gotham’s revolutionary style of policing can explain it. Yet rather than flooding the city to study this paradigm-breaking phenomenon, most criminologists are busy looking the other way.

The dimensions of New York’s crime rout are breathtaking. From 1990 to 2000, four of the seven major felonies—homicide, robbery, burglary, and auto theft—dropped over 70 percent. Crime fell across the country during this period, but in New York it plummeted at twice the national average. By 2000, New York’s crime profile looked more like that of a small suburb than a big city, notes University of California sociologist Frank Zimring, whose forthcoming The Great American Crime Decline is the only major study so far that acknowledges the significance of the city’s crime turnaround. Gotham’s homicide rate in 2000 was half that of the big-city average; its robbery rate, which started out 50 percent higher than that of other big cities in 1990, was 10 percent below the average.

The national crime decline flattened out as the new century began...Not New York. From 2000 to 2005, the city’s crime rate fell another 30 percent....

This is a long article, but every morsel is fascinating. I urge it upon you.

Oh, and also, there was a curious item in the first paragraph I quoted above. "...most criminologists are busy looking the other way." Why? Why do "experts" in gov. and academia not want to know? Read on to find what I think is the answer...[emphasis added.]

...The conclusion is unavoidable: policing is the most powerful tool that society possesses against crime. Since the 1960s, New York has spent billions on redistributionist social programs designed to eradicate both poverty and the dysfunctional behavior of the underclass. Yet by the 1990s, packs of feral youths roamed subways and parks, maiming and murdering. Thugs armed with military weaponry ruled whole neighborhoods. Today, thanks to the NYPD, those neighborhoods thrive with commerce and family life. Urban government does not possess the power to transform character or to uplift residents beyond what they’re willing to do for themselves, but it can provide the most important basis of civil society: security. And in so doing, New York policing has helped the poor more than decades of welfare programs ever did.

Should I explain this in words even a simpleton or a liberal can understand? Nahhh. If you have eyes, you will see. if not, not.

Posted by John Weidner at August 1, 2006 7:41 AM
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