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Broken Windows Policing Doesn’t Work

By Justin Peters & Campaign Zero

Insight: Under the Bloomberg administration, hundreds of thousands of people were detained by police each year via the department’s stop-and-frisk program. Close to 90 percent of those people were released without charges after the stopping officers found nothing illegal. Whatever effect stop-and-frisk may have had as a deterrent was likely offset by the fact that it taught innocent people to fear and avoid the police. Stopping people who are doing nothing wrong on the grounds that they look vaguely suspicious only serves to alienate cops from the communities they’re supposed to serve.

In the ’90s, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton presided over a surge in petty-crime law enforcement on the theory that vigorously enforcing the small laws in some way dissuades or prevents people from breaking the big ones. There’s little evidence that theory is correct. Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

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