Rudy Giuliani

Does Squeegee Guy Return Herald Return of Rudy Giuliani?


Squeegee Guy in New York City, Photo courtesy of Matt Sanchez

Well, the Squeegee guys are back in New York City, apparently. Mayor Bloomberg will be seeking a third term as Mayor and has ignored the Giuliani policies of cracking down on minor criminal activity.

According to the theory espoused by law enforcement and explained in the book Fixing Broken Windows: Restoring Order and Reducing Crime in Our Communities, the devil behind delinquency was mostly in the details. The authors of the then-controversial study, George L. Kelling and Catherine Coles, argued that by controlling the minor infractions — graffiti, litter, and the symbolic broken windows — law enforcement primed the crime prevention pumps for curtailing the bigger crimes: drug dealing, rape, and, yes, murder.

In the authors’ own words:

Consider a building with a few broken windows. If the windows are not repaired, the tendency is for vandals to break a few more windows. Eventually, they may even break into the building, and if it’s unoccupied, perhaps become squatters or light fires inside.

Or consider a sidewalk. Some litter accumulates. Soon, more litter accumulates. Eventually, people even start leaving bags of trash from take-out restaurants there or breaking into cars.

In 1993, Mayor Rudy Giuliani and his police commissioner Howard Safir adopted the “Broken Windows” strategy and sold it to the pubic under the “zero tolerance” and “quality of life” initiatives.

Loud noises met with fines, adult book stores were strictly zoned, traffic tickets were increased for “blocking the box,” and the squeegee man became persona non grata on the streets.

The Republican mayor Giuliani was widely smeared as a “dictator” in a city where donkeys outnumber elephants six to one, but after a failed Dinkins administration — a mayor who was progressively heralded as the first black mayor of New York — the public complaints of a tougher Giuliani administration did not match the private voting practices of the majority of New Yorkers. In the 1997 election, the right-wing Giuliani beat his far-left opponent, Ruth Messinger, by 17 points.

As Hillary Clinton is nominated today to Secretary of State, leaving her New York Senate seat vacant and as a caretaker New York Governor David Paterson (Elliot Spitzer resigned in a sex scandal) enters the last two years of his inherited term as the former Lt. Governor, will New Yorkers remember Rudy?

Answer: Yes, but for which seat?

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  • George McCumiskey

    After Giuliani treated his wife (2nd or 3rd) like a dog in public he should focus on maybe cleaning his own act up and then move on to petty crimes. Not to appear defensive, but what manic shrink told you that breaking windows leads to rape and murder? Get your symptoms straight. Rapist hates his mother not windows and murders are 75% the dramatic end of spousal abuse, or sneaky spouses anyways.

  • Flap

    Where you around before Rudy cleaned up that sewer of New York City?

    Rudy has some personal baggage for sure but his accomplishments in NYC are historic.

    The zero tolerance works and crime was reduced.

  • Gary J

    New York needs Giuliani. He made the strongest attempt to clean the city up, and I think it’s downright disrespect that Bloomberg has ignored this practices. There are plenty of seats open for Giuliani, that is, if he chooses to take one.