In recent years, New York City has experienced a decrease in the rate of crimes. The decline has been associated with the city embracing new technology in improving the police department’s relationship with the residents. In 2016, the New York Police Department (NYPD) reported a historic reduction in criminal activities (Nandi, 2018). For the first time in the city’s history, shooting incidents fell below eight hundred and murder cases below three hundred. There was also a reduction in burglaries and robberies that faced the New York people (Nandi, 2018). Although community relations with authorities play a vital part in crime reduction, technology can help in strengthening these relationships and consequently reducing crime.
For two consecutive terms, William Bratton served as the NYPD commissioner. Bratton used his time in the department to lead NYPD from violent strategies that the police used during crackdowns when dealing with street-level crimes to embracing tactics that aim in crime thwarting and community engagement (Nandi, 2018). Bratton’s second term in office majorly focused on leading the NYPD from a “Warrior” to a “guardian” policing ideology (Nandi, 2018). Bratton’s effort on cultural change included developing new policies involving recruitment and training, adopting social media platforms, and neighborhood policing within the NYPD (Nandi, 2018). Consequently, upon starting his second term in the NYPD, Bratton identified the need for a new type of policy to foster mutual respect and communication.
The new communication avenues took the form of street-level engagement facilitated by the Neighborhood Coordination Officer (NCO) initiative and online interactions. The online engagements first occurred through Twitter, followed by a two-way communication program, such as Facebook and IdeaScale, a crowdsourcing platform. The technological programs were heavily dependent on the overall modernization of the department’s out-of-date technology (Nandi, 2018). The NCO program began in 2015 as a pilot project and has been crucial in ensuring that police officers get out of their vehicles and interact with the community (Nandi, 2018). The programs mandate police officers from the department to spend twenty percent of their time away from radio calls and move through neighborhoods while engaging informally with people. The NCO program has been a success in the reduction of crime rates in New York.
While the NCO’s main objective was to increase police face-to-face interaction with citizens, Brighton also implemented Twitter as a platform for police engagement with civilians. The implementation started in 2014 with the commissioner’s own Twitter personal account and five other precinct pilot accounts. Subsequently, today, the NYPD Twitter initiative has grown to over one hundred separate accounts, including housing commands, city precincts, and many department heads (Nandi, 2018). Additionally, by permitting open engagements between the public and police officers, Bratton diverted the NYPD operations from the “command-and-control” tradition that had been embodied in the NYPD for many years (Nandi, 2018). The initiative has played a vital part in helping officers in the department find their public voices.
Additionally, in the two years that commissioner Bratton was in office, he successfully replaced the NYPD data centers. He started by constructing a redundant citywide fiber-optic network, purchased smartphones for all his police officers, and installed tablets in their vehicles (Nandi, 2018). The commissioner also established phone numbers, emails, and voicemail accounts for most officers patrolling the New York streets. The department advanced technologically through a one hundred- and forty-million-dollar settlement deal that the Manhattan District Attorney awarded the NYPD (Nandi, 2018). The advancement in technology played a crucial role in the improvement of police relations with the public.
Although Bratton retired from the NYPD commissioner role, he is credited for reducing the crime rate in the city. The town acquired modern technological equipment, such as smartphones and tablets, and upgraded the NYPD data centers to fight against crime through the commissioner’s leadership. Moreover, Bratton’s expertise aided the NYPD in developing close relations with the people they served through the utilization of social media platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. The advancement in technology and increased social relationships between police officers and the public have significantly impacted the decrease in crime rates in New York City.
Nandi, A. (2018). Neighborhood policing program builds relationships to cut crime. CBS News.com. Web.