Citizens Crime Commission of New York City

A non-partisan non-profit organization working to make criminal justice
and public safety policies and practices more effective through innovation,
research, and education.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Crime Commission?
Crime Commissions, under various names, have a long history in the United States. As early as 1878, citizens in New York City organized the Society for the Prevention of Crime. In 1894, led by Reverend Charles Parkhurst, the Society was instrumental in temporarily bringing down Tammany Hall and installing Theodore Roosevelt as president of the New York City Board of Police Commissioners.

What is the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City?
The Citizens Crime Commission of New York City is an independent nonprofit organization working to make the criminal justice and public safety policies in New York City more effective through innovation, research, and education.

What does the Crime Commission do?
The Crime Commission's primary activities include:
  • Developing innovative programs that reduce crime;
  • Conducting research on criminal justice and public safety issues;
  • Educating the citizens of New York on criminal justice and public safety policies and practices; and
  • Supporting criminal justice and public safety reform efforts.
The work of the Commission brings it into close contact with agencies such as the Office of the Mayor, the Governor, the police, the District Attorney, the courts, and the city and state corrections departments.

Why is the word "citizens" in the name if the group if it is not an advocacy or grassroots organization?
By New York state law, because we are not a government agency, we are required to have the word "citizens" in our organization's name.

How is the Crime Commission funded?
The Crime Commission is funded by businesses, individuals, philanthropies, and occasional grants for dedicated projects. To remain nonpartisan, the Crime Commission does not accept government grants.

Does the Crime Commission educate the business community on crime prevention techniques?
No; that traditionally has been carried out by organizations such as the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS).

Are there other crime commissions?
Crime commissions exist in about 20 American cities. While all crime commissions are focused on reducing crime and ensuring safe communities, each organization operates independently and have their own programs.


Why did the Crime Commission consider street crime the #1 issue?
In 1960, New York City had recorded 390 murders and approximately 6,500 robberies. In 1980, there were 1,812 murders and approximately 100,000 robberies.

Wasn't organized crime a serious problem in New York City in the 1980s?
At the time that the Crime Commission was organized in 1978, federal agencies and some local agencies already had effective and vigorous strategies for dealing with organized crime. However, in the 1980s, when organized crime's control of large segments of the construction industry was seen as a threat to the New York City economy, the Crime Commission's then-president, Thomas A. Reppetto, was appointed to chair the Governor's Advisory Committee on construction and several commission board members served on it. The Committee functioned as liaison between the business community and state law enforcement. Many of the racketeers involved in the construction industry at that time were jailed.

What is the "Safe Streets" plan?
This plan was the outcome of a proposal made by the Crime Commission in 1990. The plan called for the hiring of 5,000 additional New York City police officers, to be paid for by dedicated taxes, in order to provide enough officers to move police operations away from the reactive 911-response model and toward a proactive one of prevention and order maintenance. It, in effect, called for creating a model of policing based on the "Broken Windows" theory.

What is the "Broken Windows" theory?
Rising public disorder and crime during the 1980s led some scholars to propound the "Broken Windows Theory." This posited that just as leaving a broken window un-repaired encourages vandals to break more windows in the same structure, unchecked street disorder creates an environment that encourages predatory individuals to commit crimes. As criminals step up their activity, citizens become fearful of using the public ways. Soon, a "tipping point" is reached whereby the number of criminals is such that they, not the law-abiding residents and business people, come to control a particular area.

What is the Law Enforcement Council?
The New York State Law Enforcement Council was formed in 1982 as a legislative advocate for New York's law enforcement community. The Council's members represent the leading law enforcement professionals throughout the State, including the Attorney General of the State of New York, the New York State District Attorneys Association, the New York State Chiefs of Police, the New York State Sheriffs' Association, the New York City Criminal Justice Coordinator, and the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City. Since its inception, the Council has been an active voice and participant in improving the quality of justice and the continuing effort to provide for a safer New York. For more information visit the Law Enforcement Council website:

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