Thursday, January 22, 2015

The REAL Problem With America’s Policing...

Adrian Schoolcraft (NYPD)

What’s so interesting about the recent wave of anti-police demonstrations is how they run so completely counter to the prevailing reality.

In the early 1990s a New York City Housing Police Lieutenant (Jack Maple) caught Housing Police boss, Bill Bratton’s attention with a program centered around the recording and tracking of various crimes committed, so as to be able to target police resources accordingly.

When the next Mayor, Rudy Giuliani took office, he moved Bratton from Housing Police Boss to NYPD Commissioner and Maple’s program, known as CompStat took hold in New York City and eventually spread to many large police departments around the country.

However, CompStat was NOT immune to problems, especially the primary problem of human nature.

The recordings of NYPD cops like Adrian Schoolcraft in Brooklyn and   in the Bronx show that CompStat, a program initially designed to track crime rates across a city in order to better allocate resources and target enforcement, morphed into a numbers game that required BOTH ever increasing numbers of summonses and minor crime arrests AND at the SAME time ever decreasing numbers of major crimes.

Those very SAME flaws that surfaced in New York City, also surfaced in other cities across the country as well. Ironically enough, the problem with policing under CompStat has NOT been “over-policing,” but actually least under-policing, under-reporting of more serious, or major crimes.

In such cities, major crime victims are often victimized again by the police, seeking to downgrade their complaints to misdemeanors or less. That often turns law-abiding productive citizens against the police, while at the same time, the focus on an ever increasing number of summonsable offenses and minor crimes (public drunkenness, disorderly conduct, etc.) alienated the predominantly younger population targeted for these offenses, leaving the police, as they say, “fresh out of friends.”

Adding to CompStat’s woes is the fact that Stephen Levitt (of Freakonomics fame) and others have documented an equivalent reduction in crime rates even in cities that DIDN’T use CompStat.

A great book chronicling the Adrian Schoolcraft tapes (he recorded thousands of hours of roll calls and instructions by police superiors on downgrading major crimes and was actually whisked off to a Queens Mental Hospital, by NYPD Brass, over this) is a book called The NYPD Tapes by Graham A. Rayman (

The tragedy here is that the numbers that SHOULD’VE been used to target crimes and allocate resources, became a veritable “points system,” for promotion, which encouraged outright manipulation of the numbers.

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