Councilman Ben Kallos apologizes for praising broken windows policing

Profiles in courage, it is not.

An Upper East Side City Councilman swiftly apologized when his insistence on cleaning up graffiti made it appear that he had praised “broken windows” style policing.

Ben Kallos, (D-Manhattan), began groveling after being called out by just one person on Twitter.

The kerfuffle began Aug. 10, when Kallos’ sent out an email linking graffiti and more serious crime.

“We can’t abandon keeping our city clean. Graffiti makes leeway for property crimes and gun violence, and make things even harder for our small businesses as they fight to survive,” Kallos said in the missive, which touted a recent appearance on CBS 2 in which he condemned the city’s decision to remove funding for graffiti clean-up.

The letter It didn’t sit well with Sarah Steiner, a Manhattan election lawyer, who tweeted out a screenshot of Kallos’ letter with the snarky comment, “Someone just discovered broken windows policing theory.”

The policing approach favored by law and order Republicans like Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg believes that responding aggressively to quality of life offenses like graffiti, jumping turnstiles and even jaywalking, is critical to deterring more violent crimes.

But others have criticized “broken windows” policing, saying it disproportionately impacts minorities.

Kallos beat a hasty retreat, and put the blame on his staff.

“Thanks for flagging. As you know, I do NOT support broken windows policing. It was an error on my team’s part to let language like this go out under my name. I do not believe that graffiti leads to violence in any way,” Kallos wrote in reply. “We wanted to let residents know we would clean up graffiti in the neighborhood. I do not support over policing for minor infractions and never have.”

An email reiterating the point was sent to constituents just a day later.

“I grew up seeing ‘De la Vega’ graffiti in the neighborhood on the way to Bronx Science, and I have to admit that it inspired me to ‘become your dream.’ Funny enough, no one’s ever asked to clean it up,” Kallos told The Post.

Kallos is currently running for Manhattan Borough President. His chief rival, Manhattan State Sen. Brad Hoylman, has taken a tougher line on graffiti, in the past sponsoring a bill to get tough on perpetrators. 

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