The Connecticut school shooting sparked a national debate that focused mostly on two issues — gun control and mental illness. But in our inner cities, violent crime is way more common — and way more complicated. Many factors contribute to these statistics — poverty, segregation, gang warfare, drugs and policing strategies. In this Group Think, we asked experts to suggest factors that both contribute to and curb gun violence in American cities, using New York and Chicago as examples. In 2012, New York City’s homicide rate was the lowest since the city started keeping track in 1963. But in Chicago, homicide increased by 16 percent over 2011 — which was itself a bad year — and 2013 is already outpacing 2012. We asked: What can we learn from New York’s success, and Chicago’s tragedy? What strategies for fighting violent crime work best — and at what cost?
Heather Mac Donald | The Manhattan Institute
Preventing Crime Before It Happens
"No other city comes close to matching New York’s crime-fighting success, which has lasted twice as long and has been twice as deep as the national average. The cause of that crime drop is the intense, data-driven style of policing that the New York Police Department adopted in 1994."
Tracey Meares | Yale Law School
What Chicago Is Doing Right
"The mapping of conflicts and gangs can help police target their resources, as opposed to engaging in a blunderbuss strategy such as stop and frisk, which tends to alienate the mostly minority residents of neighborhoods that most need positive relationships with their law enforcement agents."
Sudhir Venkatesh | Professor of Sociology at Columbia University
Eyes on the Street
"Knowing that people have witnessed your anger makes you likely to think twice before escalating the grievance."