88 J. Crim. L. & Criminology 1217 (1997-1998)
Declining Crime Rates: Insiders' Views of the New York City Story

handle is hein.journals/jclc88 and id is 1231 raw text is: 0091-4169/98/8804-1217
THE JOURNAL OF CRIMINAL LAW & CRIMINOLOGY              Vol. 88, No. 4
Copyright  1998 by Northsestern University, School of Law  Prine  in U..A
DECLINING CRIME RATES: INSIDERS'
VIEWS OF THE NEW YORK CITY STORY
GEORGE L. KELLING AND WILLIAM J. BRATTON'
I. INTRODUCTION
Something dramatic happened in New York City in 1994: a
lot of people stopped committing crimes, especially violent
ones. The reduction in the number of persons committing
murders, for example, while not unprecedented,' was extraor-
dinary. Since 1994, a debate has raged about why this hap-
pened. Putting our position up front, we believe the police
played an important, even central, role in getting people to stop
committing crime in New York City. Despite arguments to the
contrary,' no evidence exists that the substantial drops in crime
in New York City, especially the initial ones when one of the
authors of this paper, William Bratton, was commissioner, were
the result of economic change, changes in drug use patterns, or
demographic changes. Arguably, New York City's economy,
drug use patterns, and demography might be different now in
1998. Unemployment was at 10% the month Bratton took over
the New York City Police Department (NYPD) (January 1994)
and at 8.7% when he resigned (April 1996)-hardly a booming
economy.' And remember as well, the initial reductions in
crime were so steep that by August of 1995-three years ago, but
only twenty months after Bratton took office-New York maga-
 Professor, Rutgers University; Research Fellow, Harvard University; Senior Fellow,
Manhattan Institute.
.. President, Carco Group, Inc.; Former Commissioner, New York City Police De-
partment.
I SeeJeffrey Fagan et al., DecliningHomicide in New York City. a Tale of Two Trends, 88
J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINoLoGY 1277 (1998).
' See generally, Alfred Blumstein & Richard Rosenfeld, Explaining Recent Trends in
U.S. Homicide Rates, 88J. CRIM. L. & CRIMINOLOGY 1175 (1998).
'NEWYORK CrlYPoLICE DEPARTMENT, NEWYORK CrY CRIME CONTROL INDICATORS &
STRATEGYAssESSMENT 41 (1998).

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