Zero Tolerance Policing Research Paper

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Zero tolerance policing is defined as a policing strategy in which police focus on minor criminal offenses, disorder, and the appearance of crime in order to improve control and order within a community. It is based on the belief that combative force against disorder will cause people in the community to take better care of their neighborhood and will decrease crime (Walker & Katz, 2012, p. 336). This paper will look at the history of zero tolerance policing, the characteristics of zero tolerance policing, and the example of zero tolerance policing in New York City. As well as, whether or not zero tolerance policing is an effective policing strategy. The premise of zero tolerance policing comes from the influential criminological theory, the…show more content…
This is arguably the most famous example of zero tolerance policing. At the time, New York was suffering from a severe economic depression, a crack cocaine epidemic, and a significant rise in crime (Kirby, 2013, p. 55). Overall, there was a perception that the city was out of control (Walker & Katz, 2012, p. 338). As Kirby (2013) explains, to attempt to restore order to New York City the mayor at the time, David Dinkins, started recruiting more police officers. Crime did start to fall after this; however, the public elected a new mayor. Rudolph Giuliani was elected as mayor of New York City in 1993, and he recruited Bill Bratton as Chief of Police. Bratton had previously worked with George Kelling, one of the criminologists who created the broken windows theory. In order to further address the problems that New York City was facing, together Guliani and Bratton used a zero tolerance policing approach. The key aspects of New York’s zero tolerance policing were aggressive enforcement of minor crime and disorder offenses, use of civil remedies, such as eviction and harassment. As well as, use of COMPSTAT to increase accountability and use of the media (pg. 56). The result of zero tolerance policing in New York City was a significant decrease in crime (Walker & Katz, 2012, p.…show more content…
Not only was this decrease occurring in New York City, where zero tolerance policing was being used, but it was also declining in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., where this policing strategy was not being used (pg. 339). Also, other researchers argued that the zero tolerance policing approach was not the main causal factor in the reduction of crime in New York City. These researchers stated that other things, such as the crack cocaine epidemic diminishing and the incarceration policy in the United States, could have been the cause (Kirby, 2013, p. 56). A study was done to assess this uncertainty, and the researchers investigated whether or not New York City’s zero tolerance policing was related to the reduction in homicides. It was found that the homicide rate was not significantly different from the rest of the nation (Walker & Katz, 2012, p. 339). This means that the zero tolerance policing may not have been the cause of this reduction. Further debate exists regarding, whether or not zero tolerance policing is an effective strategy and if the potential outcomes outweigh the criticisms that exist for

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