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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Ignoring History

I have a good friend who says that he has no interest in history.  He thinks learning about it is a waste of time.  It certainly seems that this view of history has now been adopted by those in power in New York City.  In a rather amazing move, the District Attorneys of both Manhattan and Brooklyn have announced that their offices will no longer prosecute fare beaters and those guilty of other minor crimes of that sort.  For those who don't know, a "fare beater" is someone who jumps the turnstiles or otherwise gets onto the subway without paying the fare. 

You may be asking, "What does this have to do with history?"  Let me tell you.  In the 1970s and 1980s, crime rose to astronomical levels in New York City.  There were multiple murders every day.  One year, the average PER DAY for murders was over six people killed.  The subways were unsafe to ride.  Violent crime was commonplace.  Hundreds of thousands of people fled the city for safer places.  The city's economy was being hurt severely.  Then in 1993, Rudy Giuliani won a close election for mayor.  Rudy had been the US Attorney in the Southern District of NY and had focused heavily on prosecuting crime in that office.  Rudy began a bunch of new police policies almost immediately upon taking office.  One was called "broken windows policing".  Simply put, the NY Police Department began to enforce all those minor acts like fare beating, public urination, excessively loud playing of music, and the like which the current NYC government is about to ignore once again.  What happened when Giuliani started this was nothing short of miraculous.  The police found that nearly half of the people stopped for fare beating and these other "quality of life" crimes were wanted for other, much more serious crimes.  By stopping the fare beaters and the like, the police got rafts of dangerous criminals off the streets.  The crime rate began to fall in dramatic fashion.  To put the decline into proper context, the murder rate in New York City went from over six murders per day to less than one murder per day during the mayoralties of Giuliani and his successor Michael Bloomberg (who kept the police policies in place.)

We have to acknowledge that the entire drop in crime was not the result of broken windows policing.  New staffing methods were adopted to increase police presence in neighborhoods where crime was rising.  Police started to use "stop and frisk" to look for guns in the hands of suspicious people.  These and other policies also reduced crime, but the first step was broken windows policing.

The reason given by the District Attorneys for ending prosecutions of these crimes is that they disproportionately affect people of color and immigrants.  In other words, tribalism is going to beat out law enforcement.  We are not talking of discrimination here.  Jumping the turnstiles at the subway is a crime.  Enforcing the law affects those who break the law.  If higher numbers of people of color break this law, it does not matter.  If you break the law, you need to be prosecuted.  Think of it this way:  what happens if we look at the statistics regarding rape and find that higher numbers of rapists come from one group?   Should prosecution of rapists end because they disproportionately affect people of color or immigrants?  Nope. 

The truth is that liberal victimhood ideology, an ideology which has been proven wrong time after time, is now threatening once again to put the people of New York City at risk.  If the crime rate in New York starts to rise, will the Mayor and the City Council take steps to push the DA's to prosecute ALL criminals?  It's doubtful.  The current New York City Council would criticize the old Soviet Politburo for being too conservative.  They never see anything but their own flawed ideology.  They ignore history, and that is not a smart move.

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