DE BLASIO’S NEW YORK:
Perhaps the City Council should be thinking about making it easier for New Yorkers to start a business before it makes it easier for them to do their business on the street.
Silliness aside, there are real risks involved with the kind of policy change the Council is considering, especially in a year when many cities around the country have seen a spike in violent crime rates. If enacted, the measures would amount to a partial rollback of “broken windows” policy, which is the idea that police departments should aggressively enforce “quality-of-life offenses,” like public urination, on the grounds that public disorder foments more serious criminal activity. There is, however, evidence that these policies have worked over the past quarter-century.
The New York Times editorial board supports the measures because they could “ease the burden of overpolicing in communities of color.” Maybe—but police reformers shouldn’t get ahead of themselves. Broken windows policies made America’s cities much more livable, and probably had a substantial impact on crime rates. If crime rates aren’t falling—or at least stable—the demand for “overpolicing” could come back with a vengeance.
Let the blue zones experiment on themselves.