February 10, 2014

Jim Fitzpatrick (@jimfitzbiz) - Time for Zero Tolerance

Jim Fitzpatrick (@jimfitzbiz) wrote a piece on Slugger O'Toole, 'After Haass: Risk of growing local disputes into toxic regional problems.' To explain his point, Jim wrote about his time in New York. He said:
"When I first visited New York as a student in 1990, it was a dangerous place. 2,245 of its citizens were murdered that year... New York today is a different place. Last year the number murdered was a record low of just 333 – that’s an 85% reduction in the rate. So what happened?" 
He explained the lesson he learnt from his time in and understanding of New York
"In the mid 1990s a Mayor called Rudy Giuliani and a Police Commissioner called Bill Bratton put in place a new policy on crime called “Zero Tolerance”. Basically, they stopped letting things go. No matter how difficult for their officers or apparently minor the offence, they tackled the crime. They locked criminals up and they put more cops on the streets. 
It’s a policy that has continued – at times controversially. It hasn’t been universally popular. But no-one questions that crime is down dramatically."
Jim Fitzpatrick explained how this is relevant to Northern Ireland:
"Northern Ireland has generally adopted a different policy... “Maximum Tolerance”. Illegality is often tolerated and accommodated lest confronting it causes more trouble. Inaction by politicians is forgiven with the usual trite explanation “it may not be perfect, but look at how far they’ve come…” 
But the deadline for delivery is long past. The rest of the world isn’t waiting and doesn’t care. That’s the message Stormont needs to hear from London, Dublin and Washington. If it really is time to “fish or cut bait” then please stop chartering new boats."
I loved this quip from Jim:
"The problem with our politicians is that they’re all process and no product. They’re addicted to process."
Jim Fitzpatrick in full here.

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