Bill Bratton says no prosecute policy will usher in ‘return to bad old days’

Boston’s former top cop is predicting a long crime-ridden summer in the city thanks to Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ controversial plan to decriminalize so-called “minor crimes.”


“I remember the Combat Zone,” William J. Bratton tells me. “There’s a potential to return to that era where the police were powerless.”


Most people 50 years and older from around here remember “The Zone” of the 1970s and ’80s, where pimps and hookers prowled sidewalks and hustlers preyed on the innocent and not-so-innocent on and around Washington Street in downtown Boston.


Bratton, the former police commissioner in Boston, chief in Los Angeles and and commissioner twice in New York, is blasting Rollins’ policy not to prosecute shoplifters, trespassers, drug dealers and so-called petty crimes. Bratton was one of the architects of the “broken windows” theory of crime fighting. He knows that to give a pass on small crimes is to invite major crimes.


The DA unveiled her plan during the bitter cold days of March when no one, even the criminals, spent much time loitering downtown.


But now as the summer gets underway, the so-called “Rollins Memo” will be put to the test.

“Shoplifters will feel very comfortable knowing police won’t arrest them and the district attorney won’t prosecute,” Bratton says. “We’re gonna see a return to the bad old days, that I lived through 30 years ago when government turned a blind eye to disorder.”


More from the Boston Herald here.

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