Privacy SOS

How ‘broken windows’ policing harms people of color

Please note that by playing this clip YouTube and Google will place a long term cookie on your computer.

Artist and writer Molly Crabapple has produced an animation project about 'broken windows' policing's impact on communities of color, particularly black and Latino people. Under the broken windows paradigm, police are instructed to make lots of arrests for low level offenses, operating under the stated assumption that making sure people are punished for breaking windows or public drinking will raise standards and therefore promote public safety. Does broken windows work to make communities safer? No, according to many people, not least its main targets. Even the New York Times has editorialized against the policy.

And yet, despite New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio's campaign pledge to reform police practices, broken windows is alive and well in New York City, administered by one of the program's fiercest advocates, Bill Bratton. People from the most affected communities say they are living under police occupation. Watch the video above; if you pay even the slightest amount of attention, it's not hard to see why.

© 2021 ACLU of Massachusetts.