Glossary: Broken Windows

Vintage Policing

Any theory is just a theory. It can never be fully proven, but it can always be debunked. The Broken Windows Theory has been used to justify aggressive policing of identified ‘unsafe‘ areas. Broken Windows policing violates rights, moral ground, and creates a perception of criminality amongst certain communities. Introduced in 1982, the criminological theory is rooted in the belief that people view disorder as a breeding ground for crime. The example often used (and the theory’s namesake) is a broken window in a building or a car, more damage to the car or building would encourage several undesirable actions including, vandalism, loitering, and squatting. Ultimately, the theory alludes that police can make an area, or an entire city, safer by focusing on smaller crimes that may build up to larger acts of crime.
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School Cops

Students from Sheepshead Bay High School at “My School has Rhythm Not Violence” rap contest auditions, presented by the NYPD School Safety Community Outreach Unit. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Daily.

Students from Sheepshead Bay High School at “My School has Rhythm Not Violence” rap contest auditions, presented by the NYPD School Safety Community Outreach Unit. Image Courtesy of Brooklyn Daily.

Which came first, school cops or school violence? It can be argued that school cops are a response to student violence. However, it can also be argued that student violence is a result of school cop presence. This debate is a very controversial issue at the moment and is extremely relevant to our schools today.

One of the earliest records of a school shooting took place in the 1760’s in Pennsylvania. A group of four Native Americans shot their teacher and nine other classmates in their small schoolhouse. Only three children survived. Fast forward to the later-half of the 19th century. From 1900-1980, there were around 130 school shootings. However, during the 1980’s, Zero Tolerance policies were applied to student’s behavior after heightened concern over youth violence. The “school safety” division of many large cities’ police departments began to grow, creating a criminalization of student conduct. Since 1980-2014, there have been around 230 school shootings. This number has almost doubled from 130 shootings, but in less than half the time.
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Black Resistance Screening List: Colors

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Image Courtesy of Amazon

Colors is a 1988 police drama directed by Robert Duvall, starring Duvall and a Sean Penn. It tells the story of two Los Angeles police officers working to stop the violence between rival street gangs ‘The Bloods” and “The Crips.”

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Justice for the Central Park Five

Khorey Wise during his 1989 trial. Image courtesy of PBS.com

Khorey Wise during his 1989 trial. Image courtesy of PBS.com

On the night of April 19, 1989, a White female jogger, later identified as Trisha Melli, was found unconscious, beaten, and raped in Central Park.  By morning, three youths were arrested: Yusef Salaam, 15, Raymond Santana, 14, and Anton McCray, 15. The boys were interrogated and held at the Central Park Precinct for the night, without their parents or attorney. Two other boys, Kevin Richardson, 14, and Kharey Wise, 16, were also later arrested, interrogated, and coerced by the police officers into confessions. All of them were convicted with sentences ranging from six and a half years for the juveniles for rape and robbery, to eleven and a half years for Wise, eldest at 16, who was convicted as an adult for sexual assault, first-degree assault, first-degree riot and sent to Riker’s Island to fulfill his sentence.

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Courtesy, Professionalism, Respect

Like I tell them [police officers], I’m on your side to make sure there is courtesy, professionalism and respect. Isn’t that what you advertise on the side of your car? Seems like you’d want me to do it, unless what you’re providing is not courtesy, professionalism and respect.

Meet Joseph Hayden, Harlem’s 71 year-old horn blowing police watchman.

Having grown up during a time of extreme police brutality against Black Americans, he sees it as a personal responsibility to ensure that the NYPD is continually held accountable for their actions. To promote police transparency, he patrols Harlem in his old jeep and captures their actions on film with a hand-held video camera.

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Unequal Protection Under the Law

Please be aware this video uses strong language. Due to the nature of the topic, we felt it was appropriate to include this taped encounter in the post.

This past summer, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) released a smart-phone app to record stop-and-frisk activities by police. The NYCLU has said that the Stop-and-Frisk Watch App “will empower New Yorkers to monitor police activity and hold the NYPD accountable for unlawful stop-and-frisk encounters and other police misconduct.” Similarly, the ACLU-NJ released Police Tape, an app that can be used to record police interactions in a secure fashion. Both apps allow people to activate a recording device that can record police activity discreetly. Once recording has been completed, the data can be instantly submitted to the ACLU or NYCLU. They can store it in case your phone is destroyed or confiscated and evaluate it to see if any rights have been violated. The apps also offer legal information to help users better understand their own rights. These programs work to encourage police accountability by making their interactions with citizens easy to report and accessible to the public.

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