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 Breakfast with Frost
Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor
Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor
BBC BREAKFAST WITH FROST INTERVIEW: RUDY GIULIANI JANUARY 12TH, 2003

Please note "BBC Breakfast with Frost" must be credited if any part of this transcript is used

DAVID FROST: The former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, became a household name all over the world in the aftermath of September the 11th. His handling of the crisis and the leadership he provided for the city won him great admiration in Britain and an honorary knighthood to boot. Before the attack he was perhaps best known for his success in reducing crime in New York, including gun crime. He's just written a book about his experiences, so in a week in which our politicians have been debating how to deal with the gun problem, I asked him how he'd tackled it.

RUDY GIULIANI: Well that was a major offensive of ours in 1994, 1995. It was a specific programme that we had with the New York City police department to do everything that we could to remove guns. We would, we would search for them, we would look for them, we tried to develop probable cause, which is what you need in order to get a search warrant in order to get guns. We offered, actually, rewards to people for turning in guns; had gun exchange programmes in which we, we tried - literally, David, - we tried to do everything we could to take guns out of society because we recognised that a lot of our record murder rates that were occurring in the early Nineties were as a result of the fact that there were too many guns available too easily. And every time we would do a major offensive and reduce the amount of guns, we would have a similar reduction in the percentage of murders that were taking place. So that's, you know - attacking the gun problem, removing guns and dealing with drugs is probably the primary way in which you reduce violent crime.

DAVID FROST: And is it really a policing problem or a politician's problem?

RUDY GIULIANI: It's both. It's a policing problem because the police have to develop strategies so that they find the guns and get them out of the hands of criminals and potential criminals and get them out of the streets, and there are a number of strategies that you have to develop to do that. And then it's also a question of having laws that allow the police to do that and not have laws that inter, interfere with that. Because, I mean guns are very dangerous when they're in the hands of, obviously, when they're in the hands of criminals.

DAVID FROST: And what about - some people here are suggesting a five year mandatory sentence for anyone found with an illegal weapon. You didn't do that, did you?

RUDY GIULIANI: Oh sure, we had, we had additional penalties for, for a crime committed with a gun, additional penalties if you're, if you have a gun in your possession and mandatory, mandatory penalties. Both New York State and the United States government have mandatory penalties for illegal possession of a gun, or, or a crime - actually I should, what I should say, a crime committed with a gun, not just possession of a gun - although in New York there's a penalty just for the possession of a gun.

DAVID FROST: And in fact Mexico City have now, I read, asked for your advice and help in this very area.

RUDY GIULIANI: Yes, we've been working with Mexico City, a firm called Giuliani Carrick, which is made up of me and the former police commissioner, Bernard Carrick, who was the police commissioner during September 11. We have people there and we're working with them both on the broken windows theory and on a programme called the Constat programme which I describe in the book, which is a computer program for measuring crime. It's a very intricate program in which you measure crime every day and then you assign police based upon where the crime is actually occurring, and you kind of, you can kind of react to that through the use of the computer program and pin-mapping, you can react to that on almost an immediate basis - or at least within a day.

DAVID FROST: So, if we, if you got a call from Ken Livingstone, could you, could you add London to the list, along with Mexico City?

RUDY GIULIANI: (LAUGHS) Well I don't know, I would, I would want to talk to Ken confidentially about that. Because the reality is the pro, the programmes that I'm telling you about - broken windows and the Constat computer pin-mapping program - you know, work just about anywhere that keeps statistics, because it's different crimes and it's different parts of the city that are affected but the idea of accountability and assigning your police where you can get the most out of them was at the core of the crime reductions we had in New York, along with the philosophy of broken windows.

DAVID FROST: And the broken window thing means in fact that, that if there's one broken window and it's left there as a broken window that leads to more crime. So if you repair -

RUDY GIULIANI: Sure, that's it.

DAVID FROST: - the window you, you win twice over, yeah.

RUDY GIULIANI: That's exactly, that's exactly - the theory is, you know one broken window that's kind of a small thing, who's going to care about it? Then all of a sudden another window breaks and another one and another one, another one, and finally the house and the home becomes unstable and, and collapses. So you'd better fix, you'd better fix it right at the very beginning, at the earliest stage - and I think that applies to problems in society - problems of, you know, deteriorating quality of life or crime.

DAVID FROST: A lot of people here say that things like rap lyrics, that sort of seem to deify violence or to make guns seem like a fashion accessory, have a bad effect. Do you think that's marginal or important?

RUDY GIULIANI: I, that's not, that's not at the core of it - I mean that certainly wasn't at the core of the way in which we've reduced crime. There wasn't much we could do about rap lyrics or songs or, you know, they're as prevalent in New York as they are in London or anywhere else, and they were prevalent during the time in which we were reducing crime. I think the things that are within your control are things like the Constat programme, accountability for the police, broken windows theory, how you, how you, how you deal with the laws and make sure they're effective. Those are the things the government has within their control. What people are singing, what they're saying, those are all things that are really outside your control and you have to kind of work with that or work around it.

DAVID FROST: And that was Rudy Giuliani, of course. And there'll be more from that interview next week when he talks about Iraq and indeed his new book on leadership.

INTERVIEW ENDS


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