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December 3 2003 Do Not Buy Broken Windows Policing if it Does Not Fit In 1996 Milwaukee first adopted a broken windows policing policy--a zero tolerance approach toward minor public nuisance offenses The policy was expected to reduce more violent crime rates but there is no research and it is probably too early to speculate on any correlation between violent crime rates and the increased citations for public nuisance offenses The zero tolerance policy has reduced many public nuisances but has created many problems along the way Milwaukees departure from problem solving and community policing through its blanket enforcement throughout metro-Milwaukee of zero tolerance policing without regards to the unique needs and wants of individual communities has created most of the problems A quality of life policing strategy is best suited for communities that are concerned with public nuisances and embrace the policy Milwaukees broken windows policy called quality of life policing was initiated in late 1996 by the then Police Chief Arthur Jones and Mayor John Norquist It was a big change from the strategy of problem solving and community cooperation emphasized by Chief Philip Arreola Jones predecessor Police were now expected to enforce a zero tolerance approach toward minor offenses Milwaukees expectation was that attacking chronic disorder problems like public drinking noise loitering and vandalism would ultimately reduce all crimes including more violent crimes not targeted by the policy The zero tolerance policy very practically increases the contact between police and petty offenders This increased interaction allows police more opportunities to apprehend minor offenders who have outstanding warrants--reducing the total number of major offenders on the streets Theoretically the zero-tolerance policy is also supposed to reduce crime by sending a message that no crime of any kind will be tolerated in neighborhoods Milwaukees experiment with zero-tolerance policing has so far produced mixed results In the heart of the Mitchell Street community and the downtown shopping districts merchants praise police
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