Mayor Sam Katz says he will be using methods advocated by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani to make
Winnipeg’s downtown safer.
Giuliani was recently in Winnipeg as the guest speaker for the final event of City Summit. During his speech at the
Winnipeg Convention Centre, the former New York mayor outlined the steps he took to make his city safer, which included the use of statistics to track crime and use those statistics to make improvements to law enforcement — a program referred to as COMPSTAT.
“While (Winnipeg Police Service) Chief Ewatski and I have discussed the value of COMPSTAT and other innovations for months,” said Katz, “the advice I heard from former New York Mayor Giuliani and the strong support summit delegates had for his message convinced us that city council must support these innovations now.”
Following an Executive Policy Committee motion, Katz formally asked Chief Ewatski to report before July 10 on the adoption of policing best-practices proven to be effective in New York and in other North American cities, including:
• The use of COMPSTAT, a statistics-based tool for crime reduction that tracks crime patterns daily and holds police
commanders accountable for breaking those patterns.
• “Intelligence-led policing,” or the use of COMPSTAT and other intelligence data, to proactively target resources to prevent crime rather than merely respond to it.
• “Evidence-based policing,” including measurement of police effectiveness based on outcomes — a lower crime rate — rather than outputs — arrests or patrol hours.
Giuliani said he used COMPSTAT during his two terms as mayor to determine what was being done right — not the number of arrests, nor the number of people in jail, but less crime.
When Giuliani came to office in 1993, New York’s high crime rate had earned coverage in Time magazine under the heading “The Rotting of the Big Apple.” According to the article, there was nothing that could be done to stop New York’s decline.
A poll at the time showed that 65 per cent of New Yorkers wanted to flee the city because of street crime.
Giuliani told the Winnipeg audience that his measures reduced the overall crime rate by 65 per cent and the murder rate by 70 per cent.
To reduce the crime rate, he adopted the Broken Window Theory: one little broken window ignored leads to other windows
being broken and the eventual collapse of the entire building.
Using this theory, he made sure the New York Police Department paid attention to small crimes that had previously been
ignored such as small-time drug dealing and prostitution.
By January 1, 2000, Time reported on New York as a “great example of urban renaissance.”
Katz said that he hoped to build on the momentum gained from increasing the size of the police service by almost 50 officers in 2006. In New York, Giuliani increased the number of officers to 41,000 from 32,000 to police a city of 7.4-million people.
“Frankly, a true crime prevention strategy wouldn’t be possible without the lessons learned in the permanent ongoing Operation Clean Sweep, increases to the 2006 police budget and the support we’ve received from the provincial
government for both,” said Katz. “We’ve come a long way since 1999, when council cancelled an entire recruit class at the police academy.”
Katz is meeting with federal government officials in Ottawa, including Justice Minister Vic Toews, to discuss federal justice promises and policies and their specific
impact on Winnipeg’s crime prevention strategy in the coming year.
“Winnipeggers deserve a safe city, and we know the federal government supports us as we ramp up our fight against crime,” said Katz.
“Ottawa can help us fight crime in a number of ways, and not all of them cost money, which is why I believe it is important for us to discuss the specifics of our
situation with federal officials as well as members of cabinet,” he added.