MANCHESTER REPUBLICAN COMMITTEE
For Immediate Release
August 9, 2006
Contacts: Jerry Thibodeau, Chairman, 867-6191
Roy Shoults, Media Coordinator, 625-0077
MAYOR GUINTA ATTACKS CRIME
Much attention was given in today's New Hampshire Union Leader to the many efforts that Manchester Mayor Frank Guinta is putting into building up the police forces and the attention that is now being given to crimes, both large and small, in this city.
While most articles reported wide support of these efforts, one article gave several mixed resident reactions. One comment was "the city has overreacted to random events. The so-called gang members, she said, are 'young kids trying to act cool.' " Another resident, when asked about recent shootings, stated, "These things happen, and sometimes they happen in numbers, but I don't think it's a trend." Another offered, "you can put all the cops over here you want, but it ain't going to work right."
Republican Mayor Rudy Giuliani, when he took office in 1993, found a city in a downward spiral of decay with both the police and citizens adjusting to and allowing a multitude of lesser crimes and anti-social behaviors. The police claimed, in general, that they had to be more concerned with "big" crimes. Mayor Giuliani immediately instituted two themes, "zero tolerance," and "quality of life." Much of what he undertook stemmed from both his prior experiences in the police force, and from an article, Broken Windows, by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling, published in The Atlantic Magazine, March, 1982 which was the nucleus for a later book, Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities by George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles, published in 1996, about petty crime and strategies to contain or eliminate it from urban neighbourhoods. The article posed two scenarios:
"Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it's unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.
Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars."
William J. Bratton, head of the Transit Police since 1990, and also a disciple of George Kelling, implemented "zero tolerance" to fare-dodging, easier arrestee processing, and background checking. He was later appointed by Mayor Giuliani as head of the New York Police Department. With Mayor Giuliani's support, Bratton hired 5,000 new, better educated police officers, and installed CompStat, a real-time police intelligence computer system, and they began a strict enforcement of the laws against public drinkers, public urinators, and the infamous "squeegee men," who had been wiping windshields of stopped cars and demanding payments.
You may ask, "What has all this got to do with Manchester?" Mayor Guinta is simply not waiting until Manchester reaches the decrepit state of New York City in the 1990s. He is starting now to fix a few "broken windows," before more severe damage occurs to Manchester. Not too long ago Mayor Guinta went to New York City to confer with their Police Department about the methods they are now using to counter crime in that city. While Manchester is certainly not New York City in the 1990s, Mayor Guinta wants to assure that the recent upswing in crime in Manchester will never even come close to it, and that Manchester will remain the city we always have known, respect and enjoy.