‘Broken windows 2.0’ helps reduce crime: The Tribune India


Sanjay Kundu

DGP, Himachal Pradesh

THE traditional doctrine of policing has centered on the police station and its work to prevent crime. This was operationalized through a system of beat and patrol, criminal record keeping, crime investigation and, finally, incarceration on conviction to keep threats to society off the streets.

During the 1990s, New York had become increasingly dangerous; the city was plagued with an extremely high crime rate and traditional methods of crime prevention were not working. Enter William Bratton, the visionary commissioner of the New York Police Department (NYPD). He introduced a theory of crime prevention called “broken windows”, to fight crime at its initial stage when windows are broken by petty criminals, to prevent future serious crimes such as homicides and sexual assaults.

To put this into practice, the NYPD came up with “COMPSTAT,” an acronym for computers and statistics, to study the data to narrow down the patterns and fill in the gaps. He offered maps of the future, aimed at predicting crime and working towards reaching a tipping point, after which crime would decline.

After taking office as the Chief of Police in the Hills State, I set out three main objectives – to combat crime against women and children, to combat drug abuse and its trafficking and to reduce accidents of the road and the resulting deaths and injuries.

After a few months, I realized that our traditional crime reporting methods and year-over-year analysis weren’t working and weren’t solving my main goals. The first thing we did was turn to corporate-style, daily and weekly crime analysis. We compared the crime of the current week with the past and the weekly average of the last five years. We also opted for temporal and spatial crime mapping to detect trends and patterns.

Each Monday we analyzed the week’s overall crime, cases decided by the courts and disaggregated crime under different chiefs and districts. We have not limited our “broken windows” to crime prevention, but have extended it to “rigorous trial management” to ensure speedy trials and secure convictions. We monitored the depositions of police officials and private witnesses in POCSO cases and crimes against women, in particular rape. We also followed the progress of the cases and their progress before the courts.

Our new registers at police stations such as the sex offender register have started to bear fruit. In the two years since its introduction, we have identified more than 4,100 sex offenders in the state and 55 repeat offenders, one of whom had committed 25 offences. Similarly, the register kept for suicide cases provided us with essential information that 72% of the victims under article 306 of the CPI (encouragement to suicide) were women, while for article 174 of the CrPC (voluntary suicide), it was the exact opposite.

With the information we obtained from the register of missing women and children, we have found them with enormous success; our recovery percentage being 95 for children and 85 for women. These interventions have helped us prevent unfinished crimes and ensure control of violence against women and children. We suggested a “whole of government approach” to their security.

To fight against drug trafficking, the register kept for operators provided us with the profiles of more than 2,000 traffickers, including 396 repeat offenders, including some foreigners. We have now kept them under surveillance and are preparing to freeze and seize their assets. Two years ago there were 6,500 drug cases awaiting trial in court and over 7,000 awaiting trial, the main reason being that police officers and private witnesses were not giving evidence, resulting in the adjournment of trials and lack of decision. We started to map the trials, secured the depositions of the police and private witnesses. As a result, over 8,000 law enforcement officials and over 2,000 private witnesses have testified since then. This has accelerated the trials; cases are decided, most resulting in convictions.

As some drugs are more expensive than gold, the temptation to steal and loot drugs seized from police stations remains a challenge, as they may find a way back into the market. To address this, we have ensured the weekly destruction of drug crate properties. After mapping the wait for trials, we suggested the government establish fast-track courts to reduce the wait, especially for sexual assault, POCSO and drug cases.

Being a mountainous state, road accidents are a challenge. To understand the problem, we make a spatial and temporal mapping. Significant revelations were that 22% of fatalities occurred due to vehicles “descending” down hills due to lack of guardrails, 19% of fatalities were due to collisions with pedestrians due to the lack of pedestrian infrastructure and 25% of accidents occurred between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. With only less than

With 2% of the roads in Himachal having crash barriers, we requested the PWD to install these barriers in 50 most vulnerable locations and make them essential for all future roads.

To deal with pedestrian fatalities, which were largely occurring on the plains of the state, we suggested the PWD incorporate this into their road designs, which to date is absent. In terms of repression, we ensure the deployment of traffic police on the most vulnerable 6 p.m.-9 p.m. slot and the extension of the intelligent traffic management system, limited to date to 15 municipalities, to all the tourism and temple towns. The World Bank has recognized our work, with Shimla and Nurpur districts recognized as rollover and pedestrian accident prone respectively. The World Bank is currently working to improve road engineering, road safety infrastructure and police law enforcement capacity in these two districts. Out of the total project expenditure of Rs 120 crore approved by the World Bank, Rs 40 crore was earmarked for the police to improve road safety through the establishment of a state traffic control room, AI-based cameras, speed violation detection radars, interceptors, patrol vehicles and ambulances.

In conclusion, “Broken Windows” Version 2.0 has helped us stay ahead of the crime curve, reduce overall crime, violent crime, crimes against women and children, and traffic accidents. the road.

While the NYPD model was limited to crime prevention, we have extended it to the entire criminal justice system. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “The first duty and highest obligation of government is public safety. Realizing that reducing crime and improving public safety is the main goal of any government, we try to meet these expectations with “broken windows 2.0”.


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