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Rudy Giuliani on Crime

Former Mayor of New York City; Republican Candidate for 2000 Senate (NY)


Mob-busting prosecutor; cracked down on NYC crime

Giuliani was an implausible nominee--a socially liberal New Yorker seeking to take over a party dominated by southerners and evangelical Christians. Giuliani was a true conservative in many respects. His economic philosophy tilted sharply toward supply-side theory. His years as a mob-busting prosecutor and his crackdown on crime as mayor earned him a reputation as a law-and-order politician. On national security, no one in the field, save possibly McCain, was so outspoken about the need to stay on the offense.

But even with that message there were doubts that he could overcome resistance to his support for abortion rights, gay rights, and gun control. The polls notwithstanding, Republican insiders were doubtful.

Source: The Battle for America 2008, by Balz & Johnson, p.237 , Aug 4, 2009

OpEd: breakthrough on crime based on reporting right metrics

As mayor in the 1990s, Giuliani implemented fundamental change in policing against enormous resistance and succeeded only because he, his team, and the citizens who supported his effort to lower crime absolutely insisted on it and were cheerfully persistent in doing so.

He began with a simple question: "Can you reduce crime?" He asked this question against the backdrop of the dominant sociology and criminology belief of 1993, which was that policing has little ability to affect crime.

The first great breakthrough was the development of the right metrics for reporting.

Police forces had historically measured how fast they could answer a 911 call and how many arrests there had been the previous day. Giuliani believed those were the wrong questions. They wanted to know how many crimes had occurred, where they had occurred, an what time they had occurred. They wanted to see if there was a pattern of activity that could be used to develop new strategies and to focus in new ways.

Source: Real Change, by Newt Gingrich, p.103-106 , Dec 18, 2007

FactCheck: crime NOT at record high when Rudy took office

Giuliani often talks about how crime in NYC declined while he was at the city’s helm--and that’s true. But he’s off-base in describing the city as having “record crime” until he took office. Giuliani’s tenure began in 1994, a few years after both violent and property crime in the city had begun to decline. The violent crime rate had peaked in 1990, and the property crime rate hit a high point in 1988. Both types of crime continued to drop, substantially, under Giuliani, but the trend had begun years earlier.

Giuliani’s ad is correct when it claims that crime was cut “in half” in his term, which ended in 2001. Furthermore, crime declined in the city at a faster rate than it did across the nation. During his time in office violent crime fell 56% in NYC but only 33% nationally.

Giuliani would have been correct to say the city was experiencing “NEAR record crime,” but a “record” is “an unsurpassed statistic.” This ad is simply false when it says the city experienced “record crime ... until Rudy.”

Source: FactCheck.org: AdWatch of 2007 campaign ad, “Challenges” , Nov 27, 2007

FactCheck: NYC crime did drop, but others deserve credit too

Giuliani made a grandiose boast that he “brought down crime more than anyone in this country--maybe in the history of this country--while I was mayor of NYC.”

Crime certainly dropped dramatically during Giuliani’s tenure from 1993 to 2002. In fact, the city is still in the midst of a record-setting trend for consecutive years of declining violent crimes. However, it is a trend that actually started under Giuliani’s predecessor, David Dinkins, in 1990, when a high of 174,542 violent crimes were reported according to the FBI, and has continued under his successor, Mike Bloomberg. In 2006, a new low of 52,086 such crimes were reported.

The FBI itself warns against drawing broad conclusions (one might even say claiming undue credit) based on these statistics. The FBI website warns: “These rough rankings provide no insight into the numerous variables that mold crime in a particular city. Consequently they lead to simplistic and/or incomplete analyses that often create misleading perceptions.”

Source: FactCheck.org on 2007 GOP primary debate in Orlando , Oct 21, 2007

FactCheck: Hired 3,660 new cops, but took credit for 12,000

On his campaign Web site, Giuliani claims to have increased NYC’s police force by 12,000 officers--from 28,000 to 40,000--between 1/1/1994 & 2000.

The number Giuliani uses as his starting point in 1994 includes only NYPD officers. He doesn’t count transit police or housing police. But Giuliani DOES add the housing and transit police to his later tally--that added close to 7,100 officers to the NYPD’s rolls. It’s misleading for Giuliani to leave the transit and housing cops out of the starting count.

Even the figure Giuliani uses for the number of NYPD officers when he took office--28,000--is inaccurate. The NYPD numbered 29,450 when Giuliani took office. So we’re left with an increase of 3,660, or about 10%. That’s perfectly respectable, bu it’s not 12,000. Under the auspices of the Bill Clinton’s COPS program, NYC was given enough money to cover the first $25,000 of the salaries of about 3,500 new officers from 1997 to 2000 [i.e. almost all of the new NYPD hires were paid for federally].

Source: FactCheck.org: AdWatch of 2007 campaign websites , Oct 9, 2007

What has he done for minorities? They’re alive!

If Giuliani’s policies toward the poor were particularly uncaring and cynical, well, how many leaders have ever done more for the unfortunate than their constituents demanded? If many people of color saw their rights violated by the police, no doubt many were happy to live in a safer city, or as Giuliani put it with typical delicacy when asked by a Washington Post reporter what he had done for minorities, “They’re alive. How about we start with that?”
Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p.170 , May 2, 2007

Enforced jaywalking laws as part of “broken windows” theory

Laws prohibiting jaywalking are universally understood to symbolize a city’s parental stance toward its infantile citizens; in cities around the world they are primarily a cheap and easy way for a beat cop to meet his daily ticket quota.

Giuliani chose to have his police officers aggressively enforce the anti-jaywalking statute, declaring certain formerly legal street-crossings off-limits--installing fences on Midtown corners to prevent any pedestrian traffic at those points, so as not to impede the flow of motor vehicles on the major arteries. Favoring cars over people flew in the face of most current urbanist thinking.

The enforcement of the statutes on jaywalking was perhaps thinly justified by the “broken windows” theory, a voguish neoliberal construct that held that the number of minor infractions observed in a district--graffiti, panhandlers, subway-fare evasions--was proportional to the amount of significant crimes, of murders, rapes, and felonious assaults.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, by R. Polner, p. 65-6 , May 2, 2007

Arrested homeless for crimes like public urination

In January 2000, on one of the coldest nights of the winter, cops with badges began pulling sleeping homeless out of bed, dazed and destitute, and putting handcuffs on them. They were being arrested for failing to appear in court in the distant past to answer for such heinous crimes as public urination, sleeping in the subway, and begging for food in public. 149 homeless were arrested. In City Hall Giuliani was ecstatic. “These are quality of life crimes,” he exulted.

Most of those arrested had afflictions, such as mental illness and substance abuse, common to those who end up on the street. When a NY Times article recounted the arrests, the mayor exploded. “There’s no way immunity in the law that says if you are homeless, you then get away with committing a crime,” Giuliani said. “You can ignore the problem and say, ‘Gee, I’m such a big, fuzzy-headed liberal that I’m going to walk away from it.’ That’s NYC in the 1980s. That’s New York City with 2000 murders.”

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, p. xvii & 55 , May 2, 2007

Father, Harold, served 16 months for armed robbery

The darkest details of [Rudy’s father] Harold Giuliani’s past did not fully emerge until 2000 when investigative reporter Wayne Barrett unearthed that he had been arrested in1934--ten years before his only son’s birth--for robbing a milkman of $129 at gunpoint. Harold pled guilty and spent 16 months at Sing-Sing.

Rudy Giuliani had four uncles who were police officers and a fifth who was a firefighter. But Harold was not the only family member who had ended up on the wrong side of the law. Harold’s brother-in-law was a Brooklyn loan shark. Harold worked as Leo’s muscle, collecting as much as $15,000 a week.

Giuliani responded to the revelation [in Barrett’s biography] by saying that he did not know anything about the matter. There was, however, another case involving Harold that Rudy surely was aware of. As a teenager, Giuliani was with his father during a peculiar episode in a park restroom that resulted in Harold’s arrest for loitering. The charge was dismissed.

Source: America‘s Mayor, America‘s President?, p. 3 & 56 , May 2, 2007

As mayor, reduced crime but didn’t raise police pay

A former police captain says, “The rank-and-file police officers dislike Giuliani because of the economic issue; they felt they were the heroes of his administration--they dealt with the issue of crime; they saved lives--but Giuliani’s position was: give them zero. They were not given raises; they were not treated fairly. If you speak to the rank-and-file police officer, you will find out that there is no love affair.”

Another police spokesperson added, “the cops, to a person, despise him today for building his career on their backs and becoming a law-and-order mayor, and never taking care of the people who did the work. He was behind us publicly. When he came into office, crime was at a peak [and Giuliani reduced crime]. But before he was elected, we were among the highest-paid police officers in the nation. We got a 5-year contract under Giuliani with 2 years of no raises. We’re starting to see the impact now: they can’t get enough recruits and they’ve had to lower the standards to hire.

Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p.165-166 , Jan 16, 2007

Considered police brutality in Louima case an aberration

On Aug. 9 1997, a melee occurred outside a club in Brooklyn, a bar frequented by Haitian immigrants. Police officer Justin Volpe was kicked in the head. Angered, he grabbed Abner Louima, a 30-year-old bystander, and arrested him for assault & disorderly conduct. The rest is history. [The sexual brutalization of Louima] in the precinct’s bathroom would come to be regarded as one of the most notorious episodes of police brutality ever recorded.

Giuliani was quoted in Newsweek in 1999 about the case, saying “I think brutality happens, but in the late 1990s it’s an aberration.”

Al Sharpton opined, “There was a tone. And the fact that something so vicious could be done in a police station with other officers there has to give you an idea of the mentality that the police must have had at that time, that they could get away with it. He did this in the precinct and no one turned him in, no one stopped him, no one made a move. And that’s frightening.

Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p.177-178 , Jan 16, 2007

Applies strict moral standards to lawbreakers

Rudy Giuliani, ever-mindful of his Catholic upbringing, would apply strict religious and moral principles in his unmerciful punishment of lawbreakers.

I think the fact that he was of Italian heritage himself made him a tough prosecutor; he wanted to bend over backwards to root out and successfully prosecute organized crime because he felt that Italian Americans suffered unfairly by gangsters being Italian and he resented it. But it is also that he was in the US Attorney’s Office at the right time: white-collar crime was breaking out all over; the sentencing guidelines were coming into play where the position was being taken that white-collar defendants should no longer be coddled and that they should be prosecuted severely.

He was scrupulously honest; you could never corrupt Rudy Giuliani by offering him anything of value to do something that he did not think was appropriate.

Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p. 46 , Jan 16, 2007

Prosecuted Miss America for fraud (and lost)

US Attorney Giuliani could go to bizarre lengths in pursuit of a conviction, a case in point being his prosecution in the late 1980s of Bess Myerson, a former Miss America, TV personality, and city official, on bribery and mail fraud charges. Rudy took advantage of a troubled woman, Sukhreet Gabel, choosing her as one of his witnesses against her own mother, Judge Hortense Gabel, who had figured in Myerson’s attempt to have her then lover’s alimony payments to his ex-wife reduced. Rudy had clearly overreached in pitting a daughter against her own mother, and both Myerson and Judge Gabel were acquitted.

Rudy had been told this is an unwinnable case. Clearly, their strategy was to throw me to the wolves. I never met Rudy; though I knew he was heavily involved. It was one of his pet projects because he wanted to run for mayor and what could be better than bringing down a judge, a Mafia contractor, and Miss America, Koch’s “girlfriend,” in one swoop?

Source: Flawed or Flawless, by Deborah & Gerald Strober, p. 56&61 , Jan 16, 2007

Prefers death penalty for 9/11 conspirators

Giuliani reacted with a mixture of disappointment and respect to the announcement of a life prison sentence for Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person convicted for involvement in the Sept. 11 attacks. “I would have preferred to see the death penalty, but I kind of stand in awe of how our legal system works that it can come to a result like this,” Giuliani said. Giuliani noted that he had testified in the penalty phase of Moussaoui’s trial. “I would have preferred a different verdict. But it does show that we have a legal system that we follow, that we respect it. And it is exactly what is missing in the parts of the world or a lot of the parts of the world that are breeding terrorism. Maybe there is something good that comes out of this in showing these people that we are a free society, a lawful society . that we have respect for people’s rights and that we can have disagreements about whether the death penalty should be imposed on somebody like Moussaoui.“
Source: MSNBC on msn.com, “Disappointed in Moussaoui verdict” , May 3, 2006

Insisted on enforcing minor offenses, & cleaned up crime

Rudy solved NYC’s crime problem. His gutsy & imaginative leadership turned things around. Rudy directed the police to approach the battle against crime as a military operation. Each day, the department’s leaders would study the previous day’s and week’s crime statistics & redeploy their forces to cope with emerging threats. Was there a rapist on the prowl in Queens? A drug gang terrorizing a corner in Harlem? A car theft ring emerging in Brooklyn? Rudy’s police department would send in reinforcements.

He insisted that the cops enforce laws against minor offences like playing boom boxes too loud or smoking pot. It wasn’t that these quality-of-life crimes were that important; his point was that they gave the police legal grounds to search suspects and find weapons and more serious drugs. The result was that criminals in NY began to find it dangerous to carry illegal weapons. Rudy also enforced bench warrants for parole violators, in the process of pulling untold repeat offenders off the streets.

Source: Condi vs. Hillary, by Dick Morris, p.233 , Oct 11, 2005

OpEd: Mishandling of Dorismond shooting exacerbated tensions

A March 2000 fatal police shooting in NYC of a black man named Patrick Dorismond underscored the Mayor's political vulnerabilities. Giuliani's handling of this tragic case inflamed old hostilities between his office and the city's minority populations. In this situation, the Mayor exacerbated a crisis when a calm and reassuring tone was needed. Citizens in many neighborhoods, especially minority ones, felt that the police under the Mayor's leadership could not be trusted. Their wariness was fed by well-known cases like the shooting of Amadou Diallo in the Bronx the year before. When Giuliani released Dorismond's sealed juvenile records, casting aspersions on a man who was dead, he merely drove the wedge deeper and intensified the distrust.

Giuliani's handling of the Dorismond case was wrong. Instead of easing the tensions and uniting the city, he had poured salt into the wound. "New York has a real problem, and we all know it," I said. "All of us, it seems except for the Mayor."

Source: Living History, by Hillary Rodham Clinton, p.514 , Nov 1, 2003

Banished “squeegee men”: civility from treating small crimes

We attacked crime immediately, but we knew it would take time to show results. Reducing the number of crimes would not be enough: people had to see improvement. We had to get people to feel safe.

That’s how the idea for addressing the squeegee man problem appeared. There were men who would wander up to a car stopped in traffic, spray the windshield, & wipe it down. After the unsolicited “cleaning,” the man would request payment.

My belief was that treating small crimes was a way to establish lawful, civil behavior & a feeling of safety. The police chief said we lacked a legal basis to move them as long as they were not threatening drivers or demanding money. I said, how about that they are jaywalking. When they stepped off the curb they violated the law. Then, in giving them tickets, you could investigate whether there were outstanding warrants & so on.

In under a month, we reduced the problem dramatically. New Yorkers loved it & so did all the visitors who brought money into the city

Source: Leadership, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani, p. 41-43 , Oct 1, 2002

Community policing is comforting but doesn’t stop crime

The concept of community policing became fashionable. A shop owner was supposedly more likely to tell friendly Officer Joe, who walked a beat, about the criminals hanging out outside his shop. It was a comforting theory, the kind of neatly packaged idea that played well politically. It also had some validity as long as it did not transform police work into social work. The idea was seductive, & until I became mayor, I accepted the “cop on the beat” aspect of it.

The reality is that community policing does not stop crime. There are only so many police officers any city can afford. Once a certain quantity of them are committed to standing on a corner in every neighborhood, the number who can deployed to higher crime areas or added to task forces targeting specific problems is reduced. Another problem:it’s not only law-abiding citizens who are reassured by knowing where this visible new police presence is. Criminals get a big kick out of the predictable, daytime beats of community police officers

Source: Leadership, autobiography by Rudolph Giuliani, p.178 , Oct 1, 2002

Giuliani backs police in Bronx killing

With regards to the Diallo verdict, Giulianin said, “If police officers act in the line of duty to protect a community against violent criminals and drug dealers, then that the community should stand up and support them when police officers’ lives are put in jeopardy.” Although Mr. Giuliani was asked several times how he could answer concerns in the neighborhood about police brutality,he did not directly answer.
Source: New York Times, Page A-23 , Mar 3, 2000

Home ownership decreases crime

Creating more home ownership in the City would do great things for us. I learned this way back when I was a US Attorney General and I first heard about the Nehemiah program, which did tremendous work during a period of time when the City was enduring a huge crime wave. They understand that the more people who own their own homes and have a real stake in the community, the better off a city is -- not just in terms of crime, but many other things. New York has to increase home ownership.
Source: 2000 State of the City Address , Jan 13, 2000

Need DNA Lab to Combat Crime

One of the things we need in New York City is a major state of the art DNA Lab. DNA is being used in England to solve crimes in a much higher percentage than here in America, and their example shows how well it can work.
Source: 2000 State of City Address , Jan 13, 2000

Crime cut in half in NYC

NYC used to be known as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation. In the early 1990s, the city routinely suffered over 2000 murders a year. Under Rudy Giuliani’s leadership, overall crime has been cut in half and murders have decreased by 70%. In fact, between 1993 and 1997, New York City accounted for 25% of the Nation’s total crime decline and the FBI recognized New York as the “Safest Large City in America.”
Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

“CompStat” system stresses police accountability

The City’s innovative CompStat system uses the most advanced crime tracking technology available to pin-point crime trends citywide. As a result of this system, police can stop a crime trend before it becomes a crime wave. The CompStat system stresses accountability, from the cop on the beat to the Police Commissioner. This shift in philosophy has contributed to a significant reduction in police officers’ use of force. In fact, the NYPD is the most restrained big city police department in the nation.
Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

Giuliani’s sampling: large drops in all violent crime

Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

Quality of Life initiatives as well as crime reduction

Source: RudyYes.com, “Proven Leadership” web site , Dec 9, 1999

Risk cannot be eliminated, but take security seriously

You let the terrorists accomplish their objectives in reducing the reasonable and sensible options that people have in a free society. So we have spent a lot of time planning for this, we have an enormous amount invested in security and both Y2K and otherwise. No mayor, no governor, no president can offer anyone perfect security. You’ve got to be able to deal with a certain level of risk in anything that you do. It exists and what we’re doing is everything we reasonably can do to reduce that risk.
Source: Time/CNN.com , Jul 12, 1999

Other candidates on Crime: Rudy Giuliani on other issues:
Incumbents:
Pres.Barack Obama
V.P.Joe Biden
GOP Candidates:
Rep.Michele Bachmann(MN)
Herman Cain(GA)
Rep.Newt Gingrich(GA)
Gov.Jon Huntsman(UT)
Gov.Gary Johnson(NM)
Rep.Thaddeus McCotter(MI)
Rep.Ron Paul(TX)
Gov.Rick Perry(TX)
Gov.Buddy Roemer(LA)
Gov.Mitt Romney(MA)
Sen.Rick Santorum(PA)
GOP Withdrawals:
Gov.Haley Barbour(MS)
Gov.Chris Cristie(NJ)
Mayor Rudy Giuliani(NYC)
Gov.Mike Huckabee(AR)
Gov.Bobby Jindal(LA)
Gov.Sarah Palin(AK)
Gov.Tim Pawlenty(MN)
Donald Trump(NY)
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Page last updated: Feb 23, 2012