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Broken windows in Iraq

In The Corner, Rich Lowry posts an anonymous account of a presentation given by one of the leaders of the Army's 1st Cavalry Division, just back from Iraq.

Taking it at face value, what I found most interesting was the following bit:

He showed a graph of attacks in Sadr City by month. Last Aug-Sep they were getting up to 160 attacks per week. During the last three months, the graph had flatlined at below 5 to zero per week.

...His big point was not that they were "winning battles" to do this but that cleaning the place up, electricity, sewage, water were the key factors. He said yes they fought but after they started delivering services that the Iraqis in Sadr City had never had, the terrorist recruiting of 15 and 16 year olds came up empty.
This approach sounds very similar to the "Broken Windows" theory of policing, first propounded back in 1982 by George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson in the Atlantic Monthly.

It was later relied upon, famously and to great effect, by Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner William Bratton, in turning New York from a filthy high-crime embarrassment, into the clean, low-crime metropolis it is today.

It's no surprise to me that Iraqi cities are benefitting from the same policing tactics that worked in New York. Like they say: If you can make it there, you'll make it anywhere.


Anonymous said...

Giuliani has transformed the way conservatives view law enforcement, and for the better.

A global 'broken windows' viewpoint applies heavily to the War on Terror as well. Failed/Totalitarian states are the broken windows that lead to global terrorism, possibly with WMD in the future. 

Posted by Dave Justus

Anonymous said...

Gaijenbiker: How much of Japan's low crime rate would you ascribe to "cleanliness"?

Dave: Interesting thought. "Implicit Horizontal Control between Nations"! 

Posted by Dan



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