During the 1990s, New York City achieved stunning drops in crime from the “broken windows” community policing strategy adopted by Police Commissioner William Bratton. In two years, murder declined by 39 percent, robberies by about 33 percent and burglaries by 25 percent. New York’s approach completed the evolution of community policing from a reactive model into a proactive one, focusing on aggressive, effective crime-reduction that maintains order and holds police officers accountable. Aspects of this approach have been successfully adopted by a number of cities, including some in Arizona. Sustaining these gains requires embedding high-performance policing throughout a department to shield police agencies from the potentially corrupting influence of drug cartels - especially as the chaos in the border areas of Mexico threatens to spill over.
Expanding on recommendations in “A New Charter for American Cities,” this report takes the broken windows approach to the next level by showing how to institute high-performance policing. This report consolidates the best practices adopted by the nation’s most innovative police departments and provides a framework for policing that is consistent with community values and priorities; makes a commitment to the ultimate objective of keeping people safe; and produces more measurable outcomes.
We recommend private sector concepts of benchmarks to track the use of best practices and to report quantifiable outcomes for comparison against other departments, and the balanced scorecard, which counts outcomes such as reducing crime and victimization and also assesses police relationships with community members, partners, and other groups. These recommendations should be institutionalized through appropriate statutes, ordinances or management directives governing policing agencies throughout America.