NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Despite heated criticism in recent months, a new Quinnipiac University poll released Wednesday indicated that most New Yorkers approve of the “broken windows” policing policy.
The philosophy involves officers enforcing minor quality-of-life issues so as to stop larger crimes from happening. It has come under fire in particular since the death of Eric Garner as a result of an apparent police chokehold on Staten Island – as officers confronted him for allegedly selling loose cigarettes.
But the poll showed that 57 percent of New Yorkers still support “broken windows,” compared with 34 percent who do not. The poll also showed that among African-Americans, 50 percent of those polled support “broken windows,” while 46 percent do not.
“When ‘broken windows’ is enforced, it’s mostly in the black community and the poorer communities, and the housing projects. And yet, even among black voters, 45 to 42 say yup, broken windows enforcement does improve quality of life,” said Quinnipiac University poll assistant director Mickey Carroll.
A total of 51 percent of respondents said “broken windows” improves quality of life, while 37 percent said it adds to tension.
The poll found further that 62 percent of respondents want police “to actively issue or make arrests for so-called quality of life offenses” in their neighborhood, while 34 percent do not. A total of 61 percent of black voters, 59 percent of white voters and 68 percent of Hispanic voters supported active quality of life policing in the poll.
Support for the “broken windows” policy ranged from 58 percent in Manhattan to 74 percent on Staten Island, with Brooklyn, Queens and the Bronx falling in between. Support was also strong in every party, gender, racial and age group except voters 18 to 34 years old – a group of which only 45 percent support “broken windows” while 54 percent do not.
A total of 55 percent of New Yorkers approved of the job police Commissioner Bill Bratton is doing, while 56 percent approved of the job the police are ding in general. A total of 51 percent of black voters supported Bratton, but only 39 percent approved of the police in general.
Mayor Bill de Blasio did not do so well in the poll. Fifty-six percent of New York City voters disapproved of the way the mayor is handling the police, while 35 percent approved. Also, 57 percent disapproved of the way de Blasio has handled relations the police and the community, while 35 percent approved.
A total of 87 percent of respondents said crime is a “very serious” issue in the city. And as to protests, only 20 percent said demonstrators who block traffic should be arrested immediately, while 73 percent believe they should be allowed some leeway.
The survey involved 969 New York City voters, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.2 percentage points.