July 25, 2012 | John Jay College of Criminal Justice
**Impact of Broken Windows Policing on Homicide Rates Varies by Precinct**
The Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice released a report titled Homicide by Neighborhood: Mapping New York City’s Violent Crime Drop. The authors, Dr. Preeti Chauhan, Professor of Psychology at the College and faculty research fellow with the Center, and Lauren Kois, a doctoral student at the Graduate Center, City University of New York and research consultant with the Center, explore variations in homicide rates among New York City (NYC) neighborhoods throughout the 1990s. This period’s dramatic crime decline is a topic of interest among criminology scholars and policy-makers, yet researchers’ attempts to pinpoint causes of the crime decline remain equivocal.
Two factors frequently identified as related to the crime drop were included for study: misdemeanor (“broken windows”) policing and crack cocaine markets. The authors measured these two factors in relation to the number of gun-related homicides per precinct. Geo-spatial analyses identified variations in homicide reductions, misdemeanor policing, and crack cocaine markets across neighborhoods. In this report, the authors find that that a quarter of the City’s police precincts were important in driving down the overall rate of city-level homicides. Contrary to theoretical expectations, an increase in misdemeanor policing and a decrease in crack cocaine were not consistently related to a decrease in homicide rates and there were variations across neighborhoods.
“It is interesting that some precincts actually experienced a decrease in homicide rates and a decrease in misdemeanor policing. This suggests that other factors were at play in lowering homicide rates in these precincts,” said Dr. Chauhan.
The authors speculate that a few select precincts (outliers) may be driving results in prior studies. In addition, the authors suggest that future research should examine whether the results of their study maintain when highly influential precincts are removed. Chauhan stated “if removing one or two precincts from the multivariate analyses changes the results of the overall study, then these variables are not protecting the City as a whole from crime, and the policy implications for the City could be quite different.”
To review the full report, click here: http://johnjayresearch.org/rec20122/
The study was made possible by the generous support of the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation, Inc. and Susan and Jack Rudin of New York City.
The Research and Evaluation Center (REC) is an applied research organization established in 1975 to provide members of the academic community of John Jay College with opportunities to respond to the research needs of justice practitioners in New York City, New York State, and the nation. The Center assists public and private agencies affiliated with the justice system by conducting research and evaluation studies of crime prevention strategies, the effectiveness of justice interventions on individual behavior, and efforts to improve the impact and efficiency of justice system operations.
About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of The City University of New York offers a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to upwards of 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College approaches justice as an applied art and science in service to society and as an ongoing conversation about fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit www.jjay.cuny.edu.
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