A digital archive tracing the spatial cultures of
Broken Windows policing

“At the community level, disorder and crime are usually inextricably linked, in a kind of developmental sequence. Social psychologists and police officers tend to agree that if a window in a building is broken and is left unrepaired, all the rest of the windows will soon be broken.”

“Giuliani: Establish a two-block drug-free zone around schools; impose more fines against litterbugs and fewer penalties against shopkeepers; crackdown on unlicensed vendors. Seek a new law against aggressive panhandling. Arrest those who write graffiti and sentence them to community service.”

“Home ownership is the best way to fight crime. The core of this philosophy is to allow New York City to put property in the hands of the private person.”

“Precinct Commanders will have community beat officers contact all merchants who have businesses where youths hang out, give them the phone number of the relevant Borough Task Force, and ask them to call whenever such a group gathers during school hours.”

“The purposes of this title are… (8) to increase the investment of private capital and the use of private sector resources in the provision of decent, safe, sanitary, and affordable housing…”

“Lookin through the eye of the pig, I’m all fucked
No longer can I determine, who’s the criminal
from the innocent man down, to the pedophile”

“He’ll see you in your car and don’t like your look
He got beef with gold teeth so now you’re a crook”

“Forty-two percent of the police don’t even live in this town. I’ve heard stories about how cops say ‘I’m going into the zoo,’ ‘gotta deal with the animals.’”

“Given those circumstances, debate about basic police functioning is not a small matter of academic quibbling about definitions. It is a question of maintaining the viability of cities during periods of great social change.”

“An increasing number of apprehended subway robbers are juveniles. More than half are under 18, and half of those are under 16. Many are also repeat offenders. Despite their youth, these felons are career criminals who often specialize in subway robbery and may be teaching other, even younger criminals.”

“Until recently, the most commonly cited study of the effect of the police as a deterrent against crime was conducted in Kansas City in 1974. It found that there was no connection between the numbers of police on patrol and the occurrence of crime. Now criminologists say that crime is affected if the police think strategically.”

“Most Americans’ image of public housing is of a large concentration of run-down highrise buildings in a major city — crime-ridden and inhabited by the poorest of the poor. The principles of defensible space help to explain why crime rates in such projects are both so high and so hard to bring under control.”

“Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?
Bad boys, bad boys
Whatcha gonna do?
Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”

“Do they feel safer? Brenda Clark, 45, still complains about the nightly crackle of gunfire outside her South Bronx home. Anna McClendon, 71, distrusts police efforts to enlist civilians in identifying criminals. Says she, ‘You’re liable to get yourself killed.’”

“The Attorney General may make grants… to increase police presence, to expand and improve cooperative efforts between law enforcement agencies and members of the community to address crime and disorder problems, and otherwise to enhance public safety.”

“Fear exacerbated by disorder causes people to abandon parks, refrain from using public transportation (especially in off-peak hours), lock themselves behind closed doors, and even leave the city altogether.”

“It is time for America to make a serious commitment to community policing. To having people back on the beat working the same neighborhoods. Making relationships with people in ways that prevent crime as well as expedite the handling of criminal cases.”

“Problem-solving policing cannot be supported adequately by a ‘data warehouse.’ Police departments are already awash in data. Problem solving has to be supported by an ‘information craft shop’ and by “information craftspeople.’”

“As the oldest and most successful expression of ‘community policing,’ members form links with local police commanders and act as the precinct community forum on police related matters, open a two way communication link between police and community, and work together as a community. They help solve problems related to the police mission of preserving the peace, protecting life and property, and maintaining good relations between the police and the people they serve.”

“He died because he had a radio.”

“You know Rudy Giuliani will be tough on crime.”

“The reduction in serious crime and quality of life offenses produces not only a more decent place to live, but also a climate much more conducive to economic development and commerce. These reductions are essential for a better society.”

“It’s very important that we… return to the concept of police officers walking a beat in New York City, where police officers have specific territory in the city, and they are required to keep that area safe.”

“‘I got a 13-year-old boy, and wherever he goes the police hassle him. Is it worth my kid not getting shot? Absolutely. But the kids develop a hostile attitude.’”

“Just as military pilots must exercise considerable judgement on their own and accept that their individual actions may have grave consequences, so police officers on the street should be considered the equivalent of commissioned officers, with concomitant respect, authority, and discretion.”

“Whatever may be the mix of economic, sociological, and biological causes for the narcotics problem, it is clear that the widespread sale and use of certain drugs has led to the deaths of thousands, the degradation of hundreds of thousands, and the deterioration of communities across New York.”

“Whether a similar approach will work above ground remains to be seen. The first test will come when Bratton calls for city police to crack down on squeegee men by enforcing laws against blocking traffic and intimidating motorists.”

“One veteran police manager concedes: ‘I don’t know why it [crime] is going down, I just know that we’re paying more attention to it.’”

“Up in the projects, it gets no iller
With true guerillas, and stone cold killers”

“Fuckin’ with me ‘cause I’m a teenager
With a little bit of gold and a pager
Searchin’ my car, lookin’ for the product
Thinkin’ every nigga is sellin’ narcotics”

“Take the word overseer, like a sample
Repeat it very quickly in a crew, for example
Overseer, overseer, overseer, overseer
Officer, officer, officer, officer
Yeah, officer from overseer
You need a little clarity? Check the similarity!”

“(A) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in subparagraphs (B) and (C), a public housing agency may not use any of the amounts allocated for the agency from the Capital Fund or Operating Fund for the purpose of constructing any public housing unit, if such construction would result in a net increase from the number of public housing units owned, assisted, or operated by the public housing agency on October 1, 1999, including any public housing units demolished as part of any revitalization effort.”

“Perhaps the most inspiring sign of the promise that HOPE VI has brought to poverty-stricken urban communities is the families that are returning to transformed public housing developments as first-time homeowners. The determination of these former public housing tenants is so strong that, when no longer weighed down by isolation and despair, they are able to realize the American Dream for themselves and their families.”

“We can show them [the people of New York] statistics every day but if they don’t feel comfortable with the police department, that’s not going to really do the job. We’ve got to gain their confidence.”

“See, every time I rolls
Every time I walks
Every time I breathes and every time I talks
I’m always being heard, or either being watched
By scary ass white folks or crooked ass cops”

“We would put a lot more police on the streets by reorganizing the police department.”

“From now on, the rule for residents who commit crime and pedal drugs should be one strike and you’re out.”

“For one group to be able to set the norms of behavior and the nature of activity possible within a particular place, it is necessary that it have clear, unquestionable control over what can occur there.”

“There is a solution for public housing; however, if you have to narrow your focus and keep it at public housing—and I think you’ve already recognized this—it does rest with the residents. We all have to be a part of it, but the residents must lead the way out.”

“The creativity, flexibility, and individual initiative that community policing demands cannot easily be combined with the paramilitary hierarchy and often draconian management style common to traditional departments.”

“Today barbarism has taken over many city streets, or people fear it has, which comes to mean the same thing in the end.”

“Even in places with big declines in crime, or those where crime has not been a major problem for years, there is almost disbelief that the situation is improving. Brigid McGinn, a 33-year-old Brooklyn graduate student, still worries about her family’s safety, even though her tree-lined block in Park Slope did not record a single violent crime in 1994.”

“The television and radio spots, which began the day after the Democratic mayoral primary, have coincided with an emphasis by Mr. Giuliani on what his campaign calls ‘quality of life’ issues. He has assailed ‘the disorder that is driving the city down,’ promising a crackdown on street drug dealers, panhandlers and menacing ‘squeegee men.’”

“We have shown in New York City that police can change behavior, can control behavior and, most importantly, can prevent crime by their actions—independently of other factors.”

“We decided that the NYPD needed the same kind of comprehensive approach that has done so much for companies like GE and Johnson & Johnson.”

“‘Don’t waste them on communities that don’t need them. Concentrate your efforts where your interventions will really make a difference and turn things around,’ he advises.”