Reclaiming Public Spaces of New York
NYPD’s strategic plan for reclaiming public spaces, published in 1994, was made following Bratton’s philosophical and structural changes to eliminate the high crime rate in New York. The NYPD focus in the Reclaiming the Public Spaces of New York strategic plan include efforts to remove graffiti and to prevent its return; public drunkenness; drinking carelessly in public; urinating in public areas, especially in parks and behind streets; fare beating; aggressive panhandling; and other misdemeanor offenses conducted kin the public. The strategy also enabled the NYPD to focus on areas that are associated with public space crimes. The police focused mainly on the subway system, which had recorded the highest number of target crimes under the NYPD’s strategic plan for reclaiming public spaces. NYPD utilized the Safe Street legislation that enables more officers to be hired, making it easy for the police department to focus on disorderly and minor criminal behavior across the city streets that might be impacting public space safety.
The strategic plan also allowed precinct commanders to have the authority, means, and methods of responding to an array of disorderly conditions. The plan’s focus through the precinct commanders was to deal with various criminal associated behaviors that affect the public space, including street prostitution, “boombox cars,” and loud motorcycles, selling liquor to minors. The strategic plan also focused on developing legal strategies to effectively address the specific crimes and quality-of-life problems that the city was facing. Through the Civil Enforcement Initiative, the city was able to double the number of attorneys attached to the city’s Precinct Commanders to help develop legal strategies.
The theoretical backgrounds of Reclaiming the Public Spaces of New York strategic plan are based on various theories. The first theory behind the strategic plan, which was considered effective in the implementation of Bratton’s plan, was the pilot testing of the plan in the subway. According to the test, it was found that one way of reducing crime is through the restoration of order and that many individuals that were engaging in minor disorderly behavior were not minor offenders (White, 2011). The second theoretical background of the strategic plan was based on the cutting-edge management theory. The cutting-edge theory highlights management commitment, priority creation, accomplishing tasks through creative approaches, and making decisions based on information gathered. With the concepts cutting-edge management theory, NYPD was able to formulate a new management approach that resulted in various changes to the department, resulting in developing the Compstat model used in managing the strategic plan (Nagy & Podolny, 2008). The Compstat model involved managers holding the key to institutionalizing organizational change, whereby the commanding officers in each precinct commander would be responsible for departments’ operations, receive credit for the success, and be held accountable for r any issues. The model encouraged the precinct commanders to utilize patrol officers, detectives, and specialized precinct units in fighting crimes.
The strategic plan was also developed based on the order maintenance approach known as the Quality of Life Policy (QOL). The QOL had three key features that included the crime type citizens are more concerned about, which in this case, citizens of the city were more concerned with the disorder and minor crimes that were impacting their public space. The citizen had less concern regarding serious crimes since, in most cases, they are rare and do not involve violating one’s public space. Therefore, precinct commanders utilized a higher number of complaints to define and address disorders and minor crimes (White, 2011). The second key feature of the quality of life maintenance approach used in the strategic plan involves the arrest statistics of disorder and minor crimes. The statistics were used to message the public that disorderly behavior and minor crimes in public space would not be tolerated resulting in a deterrent effect. The third key feature of the QOL is that it focused on minor offenses to enhance the overall crime control by creating an opportunity to gather intelligence on other crimes, hence preventing other crimes. Therefore, the theoretical approaches and perspectives provided were implemented towards defining various ways in which the city can reduce and eliminate public space security.
The strategic plan proposes various ways of addressing the crime problem, including decoy operations through precinct personnel that are well trained by the Public Morals Division to curb street prostitution. The other method to tackle street prostitution proposed by the strategic plan is by initiating car-forfeiture operations against patrons of prostitutes, which should be conducted as per the Legal Bureau and Public Morals Division guidelines. Disorderly behavior such as loud motorcycles was to be solved by trained personnel and necessary equipment capable of frequently supporting operation sound-traps or operational cycle-checks. The strategic plan proposed the city to issue all liquor sellers with licenses. Additionally, the trained uniformed supervisors will be rotating across the city indifferently licensed liquor selling establishment with announcing to ensure no minor has access to liquor. The strategic plan’s authority gives the precinct commanders a significant role in addressing the crime problem. The precinct commander will directly enforce laws to curb the crime in public space without waiting for approval or implementing the suggested task from associated departments or agencies (Bratton, 1994). The other approach of dealing with the crime problem proposed by the strategic plan is to limit the Desk Appearance Tickets (DATs) and summonses that allowed alleged offenders to go free before arraignment for committing low-level quality-of-life offenses. DATs and summonses’ limitation will see offenders with a history of misdemeanor arrests, low-level imprisonment, and warrants denied the DATs or summonses, which might play a significant role deterring reoffending. Through the quality-of-life legislative, the police department’s ability to respond to crime is boosted as more officers are recruited and added to the fight against crime.
The strategic plan for reclaiming public spaces is well structured, and its effective implementation is an assurance of having a significant impact in the fight against crime. Although the strategic plan considers all aspects in the security department, including the policies, the legal experts and the law enforcement officers, the plan does not consider the role of the citizen in the society in the fight against the crimes. The plan might be difficult to implement by not considering the public as the first defense and weapon against crimes, especially in areas where the precinct personnel cannot integrate.
Reclaiming Public Spaces of New York
Bratton, W. (1994). Police Strategy No. 5: Reclaiming the Public Spaces of New York. NYPD. http://marijuana-arrests.com/docs/Bratton-blueprint-1994–Reclaiming-the-public-spaces-of-NY.pdf
Nagy, A., & Podolny, J. (2008). William Bratton and the NYPD: Crime Control through Middle Management Reform. Yale case 07-015 rev. https://som.yale.edu/sites/default/files/files/Case_Bratton_2nd_ed_Final_and_Complete.pdf
White, M. (2011). The New York City Police Department, its Crime-Control Strategies and Organizational Changes, 1970-2009. http://johnjay.jjay.cuny.edu/files/White.pdf