Creating a Safer Manhattan

Like many cities, New York City has seen a rise in crime in recent months. With fewer people in commercial districts and offices, transit ridership at historic lows, and employees just now returning to in-person work, Manhattan feels more vulnerable than it has in a long time. But as we’ve seen, the answer is not simply more police, but more creative policing and public safety delivery rooted in neighborhoods and focused on communities that don’t always feel served by police, like communities of color and women.

Local crime prevention interventions

New York City has had some success with interventions like the Crisis Management System, which deploys teams to mediate street conflict and connect individuals to city services, and other supportive services, like school conflict mediation, mental health and legal services, and other social programs. I support increasing funding for these programs and working with the City to better tailor them to the Manhattan neighborhoods and blocks where they are needed.

 

Providing more access to supportive programs for at-risk youth is not enough. I will work with Manhattan businesses and nonprofits to connect teenagers with summer jobs that give them a positive (and paid) alternative to engaging in activities that would risk leading to trouble with law enforcement.

Pilot program for “cop boxes” in our neighborhoods 

Following the racial justice protests last year, it is apparent that there is a gap in understanding between police and many of the citizens they serve. While the NYPD serves Manhattan selflessly every day, there is ample room to improve community relations.

 

I will support a pilot program for a ‘cop box’ initiative in Manhattan. Based on the Japanese kōban concept, a ‘cop box’ is a small neighborhood police kiosk staffed by one or two officers that can serve as a focal point for friendly police-neighborhood interactions. The LAPD has found great success using cop boxes.

 

Cop boxes would lower tensions by taking often fraught public-police interactions away from random sidewalk encounters without taking police out of neighborhoods entirely. Functions might include providing maps and directions to tourists, serving as a neighborhood lost & found, taking police reports for minor crimes, and as emergency dispatch.