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· Bummed out by Skid Row research.

By CHARLIE BECK, WILLIAM J. BRATTON, GEORGE L. KELLING [City Journal] – Skid Row’s crisis in the early 2000s was even more complex than the New York subway’s had been. Fires raged in the middle of streets at night; people urinated, defecated, and engaged in sex acts in open view; youths partied with drugs and alcohol; sexual predators roamed free; the neighborhood became a dumping ground for released prisoners and for sick people, probably homeless, whom ambulances left on the street, still in hospital garb and on gurneys. The area was such a lucrative place to deal drugs that gangs didn’t bother fighting over turf. Certainly, there were large numbers of homeless, in part because the city’s missions and service centers lay in the heart of Skid Row. But the neighborhood’s core problem wasn’t homelessness. Just as in New York, it was a culture of lawlessness that had been tolerated for decades. If any of these researchers had bothered to go into the streets, they would have seen that. 

The authors of the public policy essays also misrepresent the nature of SCI, presenting a preconceived image of the LAPD’s approach rather than a description of what it actually did. Yale professors Michael Rowe and Maria O’Connell—observing that one of us, Chief William Bratton, brought to Skid Row the Broken Windows tactics that he developed in New York—say that those tactics “demonize persons” and are “applied to putatively ‘broken people’ who apparently . . . are not to be fixed but instead are cited for the crime of brokenness and removed from sight.”

Continued at City Journal | More Chronicle & Notices.

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