America's Real Criminal Element: Lead
Illustration: Gérard DuBois When Rudy Giuliani ran for mayor of New York City in 1993, he campaigned on a platform of bringing down crime and making the city safe again. It was a comfortable position for a former federal prosecutor with a tough-guy image, but it was more than mere posturing. Since 1960, rape rates had nearly quadrupled, murder had quintupled, and robbery had grown fourteenfold. New Yorkers felt like they lived in a city under siege. Throughout the campaign, Giuliani embraced a theory of crime fighting called "broken windows," popularized a decade earlier by James Q. Giuliani won the election, and he made good on his crime-fighting promises by selecting Boston police chief Bill Bratton as the NYPD's new commissioner. The results were dramatic. But even more remarkable is what happened next. All in all, it seemed to be a story with a happy ending, a triumph for Wilson and Kelling's theory and Giuliani and Bratton's practice. The PB Effect Did Lead Make You Dumber?
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