Gentrification & Violent Crime in London

A Financial Times article attempts to define a link between gentrification and violent crime in London. The author quotes Professor Mark Kleiman on the role of improved policing in reducing violent crime in New York City:

The reasons behind the dramatic decline in New York’s murder count — from 2,262 in 1990 to 292 in 2017 — are much argued over: the growing economy, the end of the crack epidemic have all been put up as possible causes. Yet according to Mark Kleiman, professor of public policy at New York university, improvements to policing brought in under former New York police commissioner Bill Bratton cannot be overlooked.

Bratton’s policies, which included clampdowns on various low-level offences, and an increase in stop-question-and-frisk, are often mischaracterised as a zero-tolerance approach to policing, he says.

“What he really did was a management innovation.” Bratton, who was in the office 1994-96 and returned in 2014-16, introduced CompStat, measures that used computer programs to map where and when crimes were taking place, and how police resources were being shared. “When [Bratton] took over, the largest number of cops were on the day shift, but the largest number of crimes took place on the evening shift and the night shift,” he says. Bratton reallocated officers accordingly. They had a slogan: “Put cops on the dots”.

But perhaps the most important thing Bratton did, Kleiman says, was make management more accountable, hauling in three precinct captains each week to grill them on their CompStat data. During his first year as commissioner, Bratton replaced something like two-thirds of the city’s 76 precinct commanders.

That legacy of quality and accountability — and the improved investment that made it possible — is behind New York’s continued drop in crime to this day, says Kleiman. Though it may be significantly higher than London’s, the murder rate in New York recorded a low in 2017 not seen since the 1950s.

Read the FT Article

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