Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

1990s drop in New York City crime not due to CompStat, misdemeanor arrests, analysis finds

Date:
February 4, 2013
Source:
New York University
Summary:
New York City experienced a historic decline in crime rates during the 1990s, but it was not due to the implementation of CompStat or enhanced enforcement of misdemeanor offenses, according to a new analysis.

New York City experienced a historic decline in crime rates during the 1990s, but it was not due to the implementation of CompStat or enhanced enforcement of misdemeanor offenses, according to an analysis by NYU sociologist David Greenberg.
Credit: iStockphoto

New York City experienced a historic decline in crime rates during the 1990s, but it was not due to the implementation of CompStat or enhanced enforcement of misdemeanor offenses, according to an analysis by New York University sociologist David Greenberg. The study, which appears in the journal Justice Quarterly, did not find a link between arrests on misdemeanor charges and drops in felonies, such as homicides, robberies, and assaults. In addition, the analysis revealed no significant drop in violent or property crime attributable to the NYPD's introduction of CompStat in 1994.

Related Articles


"While the 1990s drop in felonies is undeniable, what remains unsolved is the cause, or causes, behind this significant change in New York City's crime rates," Greenberg said.

The analysis also showed no relationship between the number of police officers per capita at the precinct level and the reduction of violent crime, nor did it find a link between admissions to prison and violent crime rates.

Greenberg looked at crime data across New York City's 75 precincts from 1988 through 2001. During this period, homicide rates declined in every precinct while assault rates dropped in all but two and robbery rates fell in all but one.

"The decline in crime was a real one during this period, but the question is 'Why?' " said Greenberg, adding that many other major cities, including San Diego and Los Angeles, experienced similar reductions during this period.

One of the potential causes he explored was CompStat, a computerized crime-tracking program the NYPD adopted in 1994 to better identify and respond to criminal activity.

The analysis showed that violent crime rates (homicide, aggravated assault, forcible rape, and robbery) and property crime rates did not significantly decrease after the implementation of CompStat -- in fact, both continued on a consistent downward slope beginning in the early 1990s.

"There is no indication here that CompStat had any non-trivial effect on violent or property crime rates in New York," Greenberg wrote.

Greenberg also explored the possibility that a greater number of arrests on misdemeanor charges led to drops in felonies. Such a result would offer affirmation of the "Broken Windows Theory," which posits that stricter enforcement of lower-level crimes curtails more serious ones.

The 1988-2001 period showed a consistent decline in crime rates for major felonies, but an uptick in misdemeanors in all but 11 precincts.

However, based on a deeper review of the publicly available statistical data, there appears to be little evidence of causation.

In reaching this conclusion, Greenberg examined nearly two dozen variables at the precinct level (e.g., misdemeanor arrests, poverty rates, percentage of 15-24 year olds, imprisonment rates, size of a precinct's police force) and their association with rates of felonies.

While misdemeanor arrests rose 37 percent across New York City between 1988 and 2001, there was no association between these arrests and felony crime rates at the precinct level. In fact, with the exception of felony arrests contributing modestly to the drop in robberies, the analysis revealed no significant contribution made by law enforcement to the drop in more serious crimes. For example, both the overall size of the police force and city-wide imprisonment rates decreased during this time. Moreover, at the precinct level, rates of arrest and imprisonment varied greatly across New York -- and throughout the studied period -- while felonies dropped consistently across the city.

"While many may point to greater enforcement of lower-level offenses as a factor in curbing more serious crimes, the data simply don't support this conclusion," Greenberg observed.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by New York University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

New York University. "1990s drop in New York City crime not due to CompStat, misdemeanor arrests, analysis finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 February 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204153615.htm>.
New York University. (2013, February 4). 1990s drop in New York City crime not due to CompStat, misdemeanor arrests, analysis finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204153615.htm
New York University. "1990s drop in New York City crime not due to CompStat, misdemeanor arrests, analysis finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/02/130204153615.htm (accessed December 19, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Science & Society News

Friday, December 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Navy Unveils Robot Fish

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Dec. 18, 2014) The U.S. Navy unveils an underwater device that mimics the movement of a fish. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids Die While Under Protective Services

Kids Die While Under Protective Services

AP (Dec. 18, 2014) As part of a six-month investigation of child maltreatment deaths, the AP found that hundreds of deaths from horrific abuse and neglect could have been prevented. AP's Haven Daley reports. (Dec. 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

How 2014 Shaped The Future Of The Internet

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) It has been a long, busy year for Net Neutrality. The stage is set for an expected landmark FCC decision sometime in 2015. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
White House: Sony Hack a 'serious National Security Matter'

White House: Sony Hack a 'serious National Security Matter'

AFP (Dec. 18, 2014) White House spokesperson Josh Earnest says cyber attacks that ultimately prompted Sony Pictures to scrap the release of a madcap comedy about North Korea are a "serious national security matter." Duration: 00:35 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Science & Society

Business & Industry

Education & Learning

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins