Community Times Square NY and How it Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

community (Times Square NY) and how it was addressed with community policing. How did police respond? Was it successful? Why?

Times Square has notoriety for serious crimes, shady and sleazy business establishments and hookers and many illegal activities, not only at present but from the time the Square came to be. In fact recently the former President Bill Clinton while remarking on the changes to a positive side in the area for the last twenty years did remark that in his teens somewhere in 1964 -- there were violent crimes and the President remarked -- "I saw a hooker approach a man in a gray flannel suit, pretty heavy stuff for a guy from Arkansas." (CNN, 2011)

Times Square was the centre point of crime and nefarious activities until recently. In 1990s the steps taken by the then City Mayor Rudy Giuliani was instrumental in bringing about the modernity by encouraging the establishment of retail stores, chain restaurants, television offices, which now surround the Times Square has made the criminal activities lesser. (CNN, 2011) Still there is the shadow of the violent crime and other unsavoury activities in the shadows. The history of the Square and the advancements has been pictured by Makagon (2004) in his book "Where the Ball Drops." In the study of adult establishments there was a report on an activity that employees of the Private eyes Strip club were handing out fliers that encouraged drug use and that the place became unruly after drug users became agitated at night. (Makagon, 2004)

Thus crime before 1990s was common. Further they were serious crimes. The crimes that was prevalent in the place included larceny, paedophilia, fist fights and the voting to power of Giuliani as mayor seemed to change all that. (Makagon, 2004) The change in the community and economic prosperity made the place family-friendly, and corporate controlled entertainment hub. The crimes and the subsequent development resulted from the conflicts that occurred between pleasure and moralism, and the pressure of public and private life, and often poverty. Thus there are unique features of the community.

The Description of the Community

Traditionally, a large section of the inhabitants work at the Times Square area, are mostly professionals in the theatre and music industries. They work as actors, other performers and show business technicians, and most are within half hour of commuting distance. (Insight Associates, 1994) This area is the centre for adult use establishments, and the Times Square area criminality was linked to this and the community began an agitation to remove the business from the area. The commercial and residential communities united to combat this blight in 1970 by staging "demonstrations and rallies, by sponsoring legislation, and, perhaps most important, by organizing themselves into the Mayor's Midtown Citizens' Committee, and in helping to create the Office of Midtown Enforcement." (Insight Associates, 1994)

Thus the major problem as seen by the community was the concentration of adult entertainment and after seven years the Planning Commission created zoning amendments to remove adult business from residential districts and further in the 80' the "state declared 42nd Street a 'blighted area' and announced its intention to condemn numerous properties, including pornography shops, in order to stage the Urban Development Corporation's 42nd Street Development Project." (Insight Associates, 1994)

Thus the community was always active in trying to remove the ills caused by the sleazy business establishments at the streets and realising that it was one of the factors that led to the crime. This also was a support to the police department because the police departments were in all cities experimenting with community participation. For example, in San Francisco over six thousand law enforcement agencies use public notification service Nixle for alerts on crimes in progress, traffic messes and there is a new awareness in Los Angeles, Baltimore and Dallas, where the Nixle is part of public life. (Collins, 2012)

Current level of Community Justice

The increase in gun violence in the community is an example where the community policing and programs have borne fruit. The "Police Department's 'stop-and-frisk' policy and increase in the number of fatal shootings -- including the recent death of a young child by a stray bullet created a task force called the anti-gun violence task force, says that the stop-and-frisk policy is not paying off and the focus is on working with entire communities using a 'holistic cure.'" (Ronalds-Hannon, 2012)

There will thus be for public school students, programs for training and job-placement services, and conflict mediation classes when these were in force visible changes were seen with the activities of the Crown Heights Community Mediation Center and the Center for Court Innovation. This institution was founded in 2004 and works by recruiting persons from all walks of life like local businesses and residents with the mission- "articulate that shooting is an unacceptable behaviour." (Ronalds-Hannon, 2012)

It proceeds by posting the flyer showing the days the neighbourhood has had no shooting. Thus community engagement raised the neighbourhood morale. Some of the youth were impressed by these activities was shown in the incident where the organization's youth component, known as 'Youth Organizing to Save Our Streets', celebrated the 'Week of Peace'. The youth organizers, demonstrated with arguments and creating a mock conflict that demonstrated that youth will refrain from violence and crime. This is one of the innovative approaches from the side of the community. Likewise the medical personnel have begun to treat violence as a disease. This includes a violence intervention program, 'which counsels shooting victims to try to prevent retaliation.' (Ronalds-Hannon, 2012)

The judiciary is also participating. For the teen age offender the New York State court system pilots the 'Adolescent Diversion Program.' Thus the cases of 16-and 17-year-olds are assigned to judges in Criminal Court who have received special training and this is hoped to bring in legislative changes to divert young offenders from court to probation supervision, As of now New York is one of only two states where 16 and 17-year-olds are treated as adults and this would change. The implementation of the 'Adolescent Diversion Program' began in January 2012. Thus judges hearing cases are trained in psychology, adolescent brain development, trauma, and a host of things like substance abuse, mental health, co-occurring disorders, and so on. (Court Innovation research, 2012)

Community policing can be effective at a local level. The community justice experiments conducted by the focus on a particular venue are seen to have a clear identity. The Midtown Community Court in New York City, for example, one of the flagships of community courts, is specifically addressing the problem of alternate punishments to incarceration. The most important is the Midtown Community Court that was set up in 1993, deals with offences, like "prostitution, illegal vending, graffiti, shoplifting, fare beating and vandalism." (Center For Court Innovation, 2012)

In these cases the court passes sentences on low-level offenders which are usually through community service and counselling them and offering help that includes drug treatment, mental health and so on. (Center For Court Innovation, 2012) Another establishment is the recently established 2010 New York Juvenile Justice Corps based on the AmeriCorps service program trying to remove juveniles from the criminal justice system. AmeriCorps is a federal service that works with national non-profit groups. (New York Juvenile Justice Corps, 2012)

Still there are crime problems in a distinct part of Manhattan, including the notorious Times Square area. The Red Hook Community Justice Center will deal with law and order problems in an inner city neighbourhood of Brooklyn. Still there is a long way to go. The reason is that apart from the local criminals terrorists have also visited the place.

Dangerous Events:

The terrorist seems to have also invaded the Times Square. On May 1, 2010, the police found a bomb in Times Square.…

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