The City That Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control

The City That Became Safe: New York's Lessons for Urban Crime and Its Control

Paperback Studies in Crime and Public Policy (Paperback)

By (author) Franklin E. Zimring

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  • Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
  • Format: Paperback | 272 pages
  • Dimensions: 155mm x 234mm x 18mm | 354g
  • Publication date: 17 October 2013
  • Publication City/Country: New York
  • ISBN 10: 0199324166
  • ISBN 13: 9780199324163
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 70 b/w illus.
  • Sales rank: 511,972

Product description

The forty-percent drop in crime that occurred across the U.S. from 1991 to 2000 remains largely an unsolved mystery. Even more puzzling is the eighty-percent drop over nineteen years in New York City. Twice as long and twice as large, it is the largest crime decline on record. In The City That Became Safe, Franklin E. Zimring seeks out the New York difference through a comprehensive investigation into the city's falling crime rates. The usual understanding is that aggressive police created a zero-tolerance law enforcement regime that drove crime rates down. Is this political sound bite true-are the official statistics generated by the police accurate? Though zero-tolerance policing and quality-of-life were never a consistent part of the NYPD's strategy, Zimring shows the numbers are correct and argues that some combination of more cops, new tactics, and new management can take some credit for the decline That the police can make a difference at all in preventing crime overturns decades of conventional wisdom from criminologists, but Zimring also points out what most experts have missed: the New York experience challenges the basic assumptions driving American crime- and drug-control policies. New York has shown that crime rates can be greatly reduced without increasing prison populations. New York teaches that targeted harm reduction strategies can drastically cut down on drug related violence even if illegal drug use remains high. And New York has proven that epidemic levels of violent crime are not hard-wired into the populations or cultures of urban America. This careful and penetrating analysis of how the nation's largest city became safe rewrites the playbook on crime and its control for all big cities.

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Author information

Franklin E. Zimring is the William G. Simon Professor of Law and chair of the Criminal Justice Research Program at the University of California, Berkeley. Since 2005, he has been the first Wolfen Distinguished Scholar at Boalt Hall School of Law. Professor Zimring's recent books include The Great American Crime Decline and The Next Frontier (with David T. Johnson) .

Review quote

"Provocative and hopeful." --New York Review of Books"Accessible to both undergraduates and postgraduates, this is an excellent statistical study. The reader should not expect the master code that unlocks all of the secrets of New York's crime decline; however, The City that Became Safe should be considered a standard work on this fascinating phenomenon." --New York Journal of Books"One of the best studies of the psychology of crime, and of cities, that I have ever read." --Adam Gopnik, newyorker.com "The City That Became Safe" is thoughtful, provocative, and quite brilliant. Zimring demonstrates that big cities can cut crime and reduce incarceration at the same time. New Yorkers, and all city dwellers, will feel safer after reading this powerful book." --Herbert Sturz, Open Society Foundations "Franklin Zimring's examination of the astonishing New York City crime decline is fascinating and totally convincing. Reading this brilliant book is mandatory for criminologists and students of policing, and it's a damn good idea for everyone else." --Albert Alschuler, Northwestern University Law School "Franklin Zimring boldly takes on one of the most important yet ill-understood social facts of the late twentieth century: why crime dropped like a stone for almost twenty years in New York. He hones in on the significant portion of crime that is 'situational and contingent' rather than rooted in urban structure, and identifies police policies and practices that go a long way toward explaining crime rates fell so precipitously. At the beginning of the 1990s New York was in trouble; now it is back, in large degree because of the story told here." --Wesley Skogan, Northwestern University "A doubly profound book-in its withering demonstration that the New York City crime drop undoes much of the conventional social science wisdom about the embeddedness of American criminality, and in its optimistic lesson ab

Table of contents

Foreward ; Preface ; Part I: Anatomy of a Crime Decline ; Chapter 1: The Crime Decline - Some Vital Statistics ; Chapter 2: A Safe City Now? ; Part II: In Search of the New York Difference ; Chapter 3: Continuity and Change in New York City ; Chapter 4: Of Demography and Drugs: Testing Two 1990s Theories of Crime Causation ; Chapter 5: Policing in New York City ; Part III: Lessons and Questions ; Chapter 6: Open Questions ; Chapter 7: Lessons for American Crime Control ; Chapter 8: Crime and the City ; Appendix A: Staten Island: Crime, Policing and Population in New York's Fifth Borough ; Appendix B: The Invisible Economics of New York City Incarceration ; Appendix C: New York City Arrest Data and Borough Enforcement Staffing ; References ; Index