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Sweating the small stuff helps cut city crime

   Self-help gurus have long argued that life is happier when we don't sweat the small stuff.

   But an experiment launched by the Buffalo Police Department is leading many to conclude that when officers crack down on minor offenses, bigger problems don't occur as often.

   Call it Buffalo's version of the broken windows mantra. Fix the little things in neighborhoods, and you spend less time in the long run coping with more severe troubles.

   Two officers in the Northeast District have been spending their time writing summonses for things like excessive noise, high grass, debris and other quality-of-life issues. Ever since the special squad intensified its efforts, most types of major crime have dropped by double-digit levels.

   Mayor Byron W. Brown wants to launch quality-of-life squads in all five police districts, a plan that is being hailed by some community activists and lawmakers.

   What do you think? Would this kind of citywide crusade really deter serious crime? Is it a wise use of resources in a Police Department that some believe will remain short-staffed even after a new class of officers hits the streets? What if the citywide quality-of-life blitz means higher overtime costs? Would it be worth it?

  -- Brian Meyer

 

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Crime & Courts
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