Search for...
Follow @ontheissuesorg
OnTheIssuesLogo

Cory Booker on Crime

 


Ran off armed assailant: "Not in our city anymore!"

Booker's governing style: the mayor as collective parent and urban superhero. This is the guy who began his first term staying up all night to chase drug dealers off corners and once ran down a scissors-wielding assailant while shouting, "Not in our city anymore!" In April, he shoved aside his bodyguard to rescue a neighbor trapped in a burning house, suffering smoke inhalation and second-degree burns in the process.

His heroics aren't merely expressions of physical courage--though they certainly are that. They're applications of a theory of civic revitalization, which says that a single leader, visibly doing the right thing, can influence a whole community's behavior.

In 2010, Booker celebrated Newark's first month without a murder since 1966.

Source: Vogue magazine profile, "Local Hero Cory Booker" , Dec 19, 2012

Got celebrities to donate cash for police equipment

Slow down, he tells his driver, and points out the police station where the riots began in July 1967. They were sparked when an African-American taxi driver was arrested and a rumor went around that he'd been killed in custody. Twenty-six people died. The memorial is barely visible; in its place, Booker wants to commission "an iconic piece of art" that will pay tribute to Newark's past and future.

There's no public money available for something like that. Booker assumes he'll pay for it himself, or get some of his well-heeled friends to pitch in. Many of the most important initiatives Booker has introduced, from the Emergency Operations Center's huge wall of flat-screen TVs to the police department's bulletproof vests, have been funded with private money--more than $300 million for the city from the likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, Goldman Sachs, and Zuckerberg.

Source: Vogue magazine profile, "Local Hero Cory Booker" , Dec 19, 2012

$1,000 reward for crime tips leading to gun recovery

The reason we had four years of double-digit reductions in shootings is that we approached crime as more than just a police issue. We have the first-ever pro bono legal service for ex-offenders. We have one-stop centers for youth coming out of prison; we have a fatherhood program that's gotten a lot of national attention. If you think someone's carrying an illegal gun, all you do is call a tip line. You get four digits, you call back and see if we've made an arrest--we don't need a conviction, we just want to recover the weapon--and then, if we have, you get another four digits that you can use to get $1,000 from a number of local banks. It's just those eight digits, no questions asked.
Source: Andrew Romano interview in Newsweek , Dec 20, 2010

Launch Fatherhood Center and pro-bono legal help for ex-cons

Booker has tried to find ways to short-circuit the farcical arrest-release-rearrest-rerelease cycle by encouraging ex-offenders get a foothold once they're out--launching the Fatherhood Center, which helps men who want to be better dads, as well as partnering with the legal community to create the nation's first pro bono legal service for ex-cons.
Source: Oprah Magazine on 2013 N.J. Senate race , Sep 1, 2010

Police overhaul to change cronyism, favoritism, and cynicism

One of Booker's earliest priorities as mayor was to overhaul the police department, which suffered from cronyism, favoritism, and cynicism; a corrosive "Why bother?" attitude had set in.

Alerted via e-mail every time there was a shooting, and frantic to avoid another one, he started hitting the hoops court at midnight to help keep kids busy and out of harm's way. Then he began going out on night patrols in cruisers with cops, rolling up to shady characters and initiating come-to-Jesus conversations about what they were doing with their lives. The foolhardy gambit had its impact: Booker's dedication started to rub off on the department. More orthodox strategies have included what's known as the broken windows theory--the idea that attention to basic quality-of-life issues can ultimately help avert serious crimes.

Source: Oprah Magazine on 2013 N.J. Senate race , Sep 1, 2010

Applied "broken windows theory" in Newark policing

More orthodox strategies have included what's known as the broken windows theory--the idea that attention to basic quality-of-life issues can ultimately help avert serious crimes, as when two policemen stopped a guy drinking a beer on the corner, then discovered he was carrying two guns. When they brought him to the precinct and ran his name through the database, they found out he'd just been released from prison for shooting someone six years earlier on that very corner. "If those cops had driven past the guy, we probably would have had a homicide that night," [Booker's police chief] notes. Overall, [Booker's police policy] is getting results: Murders are down 29 percent since Booker took office, and 2010 saw an almost festive-sounding "murder-free March," the first such month in Newark in more than 40 years. But there have been setbacks.
Source: Oprah Magazine on 2013 N.J. Senate race , Sep 1, 2010

ReLeSe: Pro bono legal services to ex-offenders

With "Volunteer Lawyers for Justice," we launched ReLeSe, the first organization of its kind in the Nation, to offer pro bono legal services to ex-offenders; to date; more than 1,200 clients have received help to eliminate barriers to employment and family reunification. We also started the Fatherhood Center to help dads returning from prison transition successfully back into the lives of their children. We opened a City Hall Office of Reentry and created the Newark Prisoner Re-entry Initiative, which in a year's time has served over 600 ex-offenders and already placed more than half in jobs. This powerful network of providers we've assembled, in total, is serving thousands of returning ex-offenders and dramatically lowering recidivism rates.

Every dollar we invest in re-entry initiatives results in many more dollars saved as we reduce our dependency on courts, police and jails. These programs must, and, under our leadership will, expand in the coming years.

Source: 2010 State of the City Address at Newark Symphony Hall , Feb 9, 2010

  • Click here for definitions & background information on Crime.
  • Click here for a profile of Cory Booker.
  • Click here for VoteMatch responses by Cory Booker.
  • Click here for AmericansElect.org quiz by Cory Booker.
Other big-city mayors on Crime: Cory Booker on other issues:

Mike Bloomberg (I,New York City)
Cory Booker (D,Newark,NJ)
Julian Castro (D,San Antonio,TX)
Rahm Emanuel (D,Chicago)
Phil Gordon (D,Phoenix)
Tom Menino (D,Boston)
Michael Nutter (D,Philadelphia)
Annise Parker (D,Houston)
Mike Rawlings (D,Dallas)
Jerry Sanders (R,San Diego)
Antonio Villaraigosa (D,Los Angeles)

Former Mayors:
Rocky Anderson (I,Salt Lake City)
Tom Barrett (D,Milwaukee,WI)
Jerry Brown (D,Oakland,CA)
Rudy Giuliani (R,New York City)
Dennis Kucinch (D,Cleveland,OH)
Sarah Palin (R,Wasilla,AK)
Abortion
Budget/Economy
Civil Rights
Corporations
Crime
Drugs
Education
Energy/Oil
Environment
Families/Children
Foreign Policy
Free Trade
Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
Homeland Security
Immigration
Infrastructure/Technology
Jobs
Principles/Values
Social Security
Tax Reform
War/Iraq/Mideast
Welfare/Poverty

Page last updated: Oct 12, 2013