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Commissioner Bratton Defends 'Broken Windows' Policing, Says Critical Report Has 'No Value'

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)-- Outgoing police Commissioner Bill Bratton on Wednesday bashed an inspector general's report that was critical of his "broken windows" policy.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the broken windows policy involves going after quality-of-life offenses to help reduce bigger crimes. It has been the cornerstone of Bratton's two tours of duty as the city's police commissioner.

The Inspector General's report concluded between 2010 and 2015, quality of life enforcement, or broken windows, had little to do with the decline of felony crime, WCBS 880's Rich Lamb reported. The findings also suggest that quality of life enforcement was not evenly distributed across the city.

Bratton saw red.

"It is not an expert study.... it is deeply flawed.... it is of no value at all," he said.

The police commissioner didn't stop there.

"If you want to delve into these types of areas, you're going to need experts not amateurs," he said.

Bratton and his team of experts spent the last three months examining its findings, and concluding that it essentially hogwash.

Bratton's team said the police department has been consciously and systemically lowering the number of quality of life enforcement actions they take, 1010 WINS' Juliet Papa reported.

"Believe me, I think I know what I'm doing," Bratton said. "Broken windows and quality-of-life policing have been integral to the changes this city has seen since the 1990s, and the changes we've seen over the past two and a half years – and indeed, the changes I've' seen over the last 45 years."

Critics have complained that broken windows unfairly targeted people in the minority community. But Bratton argued that most broken windows enforcement is in response to complaints from members of the community about the homeless, public urination, and all manner of quality-of-life issues.

"We go where the calls come from. When people call, we come," Bratton said. 'We do not discriminate. We go where the calls are coming from. The vast majority of quality-of-life calls – 311, 911 – come from some of the poorer neighborhoods of our city."

And although Bratton will leave the job in a matter of days, incoming police Commissioner James O'Neill made it clear that quality of life policy is here to stay.

"This is a tool that we have to keep using," said O'Neill, now Chief of Department.

Police officials took issue with many aspects of the report, including the fact that it used statistics from the five-year period between 2010 and 2015 – when crime had already gone down dramatically.

"The IG made a number of incorrect assumptions, used inadequate and flawed data, used inadequate statistical reasoning," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner for Legal Affairs Lawrence Byrne.

Despite the public rebuke, the Inspector General and the Department of Investigation are standing by the report, insisting that the quality of life arrests "do not have a measurable link to a reduction in violent crime."

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