"The Sweet Smell of Success, the Sour Taste of Bad Apples"

Marie Simonetti Rosen’s 1996 article “The sweet smell of success, the sour taste of bad apples” discusses the dramatic decrease in New York City’s crime figures for 1995 in light of rising complaints of police misconduct.

Marie Simonetti Rosen’s cover story in the December 31, 1995/January 15, 1996 issue of Law Enforcement News discusses the dramatic decrease in New York City’s crime statistics over the preceding year in light of a sharp increase in reported incidents of serious police misconduct in the same period. Amidst competing theories seeking to explain the falloff in crime, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) publicly took credit for the perceived gains, in spite of the fact that, as one NYPD manager admits, they “‘don’t know why it [crime] is going down.’” According to Rosen, this move flouted department convention, which dictates not to take credit for a decrease in crime without being prepared to accept responsibility for any future increases, reflecting a new, more aggressive and confident disposition. At the same time, Rosen notes that any improvement in the public’s perception of its own safety accompanying these figures (an assumption that is left unsubstantiated) must have been offset to some extent by the abuse charges.

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Buell Center (aes2344)