A new model of safety has been emerging in New York City over the last few years. As the footprint of the criminal justice system, particularly in communities of color, has been significantly reduced alongside dropping crime, we have shifted the center of gravity of how we produce safety.
It is moving from safety secured primarily by enforcement to safety grounded in a community-owned, government-supported focus on health and well-being.
John Jay College of Criminal Justice has just released an independent evaluation of the City’s ground-breaking, community-first approach, showing the impact of neighborhood strength on safety. Since 2014, the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) has executed a comprehensive neighborhood-based strategy to increase safety through coordinated crime reduction efforts at 15 New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments across the City.
The John Jay study found a number of notable results. In general, the study found major felonies fell at twice the rate overall in MAP sites versus non-MAP NYCHA sites, while misdemeanors against people fell at seven times the rate as non-MAP NYCHA locations. The study also found a statistically significant 14% reduction in misdemeanors against persons, as well as a 7% reduction of all misdemeanors, between comparable MAP and non-MAP NYCHA sites.
These results are particularly important today as we see long-standing racial and social inequities sharply playing out in communities of color, with a generation of elders ravaged by the virus and entire communities facing desperate financial straits. As we address how we create safety beyond the reach of law enforcement, MAP provides a path to how we both civilianize and democratize safety.