Cover image for The crime fighter : putting the bad guys out of business
The crime fighter : putting the bad guys out of business
Maple, Jack.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Doubleday, 1999.
Physical Description:
261 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
HV7911.M343 A3 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Why the crooks are on the run...and how to keep them running. The number one strategist in the war against crime is a colorful dandy with an attitude, a fixture on the celebrity scene at Elaine's restaurant, and, worst of all in the eyes of his critics, a former lieutenant in the despised New York City Transit Force--a subway cop who wears spectator shoes, bow ties and a homburg, and drinks champagne on ice. But former NYPD Deputy Commissioner Jack Maple was also an extraordinarily tough and brilliant cop, who rose through the ranks by being relentless, fearless and clever. As a young officer, he constantly got in trouble for making too many arrests (too much paperwork, said the bosses), and as a transit detective he pioneered the fabled decoy squad that drove criminals out of the subways in the 1980s. Most important, Maple had ideas--ideas that would transform New York City, then other cities, and change the way people think about crime. Maple knew from his twenty years on the force that stopping crime was not a priority of the police--unbelievable but true. Crooks worked nights and weekends, but the cops didn't want to. Vast areas of the city were written off by the police--because they thought they were lost forever. Too bad about the citizens who lived there. Maple was determined to revolutionize the way crime is fought--how cops go after crooks, and how they prevent crime from happening in the first place. And he succeeded. Two years after Maple became Deputy Commissioner, the seemingly explosive crime rate was going down--fast: murder rate down 50 percent, crime down overall by 39 percent. And by 1998, the number of murders in New York City for the year was lower than in 1964. After his program was implemented in New Orleans, the violent crime rate in America's most dangerous city was cut in half between 1996 and 1999--and results were even better in Newark. But Maple is not satisfied. InThe Crime Fighterhe tells the reader how crime can and should be attacked. Laced with fascinating, incredible and often humorous tales of Maple's adventures as a cop, the book is as entertaining as it is informative. Anyone interested in how criminals think and act, and how the police should do their jobs as servants of the people, not as an occupying force, will devour this absorbing book.

Author Notes

Jack Maple began his career as a New York City Transit Patrolman and rose to become Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD. Since leaving the department, he has served as a consultant to police departments worldwide. He lives in New York City and Key West.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

When New York City transit cop Jack Maple was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD in 1993, he set out to lower New York's soaring crime rate. This is the story of his success. By 1995, homicides had dropped by 50 percent, and the overall crime rate had been reduced by 39 percent. By 1998, the homicide rate was lower than it was in 1964. How did Maple do it? Simple: he went after the bad guys, caught them, prosecuted them, and took them off the streets. Maple, who used to get in trouble for arresting too many people (arrests cause paperwork), changed the way New York cops did their jobs and, just like the clichesays, cleaned up the town. Told in a lively, fast-paced style, the book will appeal not only to readers of crime nonfiction but also to those familiar with the realistic police fiction of Joseph Wambaugh or William Caunitz. --David Pitt

Publisher's Weekly Review

With a mixture of autodidactic erudition and street smarts, Maple reflects on what he learned about effective policing in a career that started on the lowest rung of New York City law enforcement, as a transit cop patrolling underground subway tunnels. Maple worked his way up to deputy commissioner of the NYPD under Commissioner William Bratton in the early 1990s, and became a well-known fixture in the city. In 1993, Maple writes, he mortgaged his house and blew the money on $400 suits, fancy hats and bottles of Dom Perignon, which he drank over ice at the trendy restaurant Elaine's while formulating the four basic principles of policing that would guide the city's successful assault on crime (in two years, murder rates dropped by 50%). Maple favors military analogies, dropping names like Rommel and Sun Tzu as influences, but behind his swagger is an obsessive dedication and attention to detail. He offers a paddy wagon-full of examples from his career in New York, and later as a police consultant in New Orleans and other cities, of how police departments need to track data and of how cops often work against each other unnecessarily. Maple is at his most compelling when he illustrates his theories with war stories that recount the careers of notorious criminals, like a hit-man nicknamed "Freddy Krueger," and the real-life police work that nailed them. With Mitchell's help, Maple writes with almost as much mischievous style as he dressed when he wore his homburg and spats to Elaine's. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

The drop in New York City's crime rate has been trumpeted throughout the media. But who is really responsible for curbing the murder rate by more than 50 percent? One of the primary contributors is Maple, an extraordinarily tough and clever cop, who has risen through the ranks by being fearless, aggressive, and relentless in his methodical pursuit of putting bad guys behind bars. Maple shares many of his fascinating adventures as a police officer in this new book, chronicling his battles within the department as well as on the streets as, ironically, his often aggressive manner and high rate of arrests would put him in trouble with top brass even as it accelerated his climb from transit cop all the way to Deputy Commissioner of the NYPD. (He has left the department and now serves as a consultant to police departments across the country.) A refreshing, uniquely clear observation of policing in New York City; highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/99.]√ĄTim Delaney, Canisius Coll., Buffalo, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



"A Game of Bluff": What's Wrong with Policing I was forty-one in 1993 when I finally got a seat at the table. I had been a cop since about the time I was first allowed to walk into a bar unaccompanied by an adult, but in the very profession that had consumed most of my life, I had until that year been very much on the outside, my cheeks red from the cold and my nose pressed up against the window. In New York City, there were separate police forces for the streets, the subways, and public housing, but only one had manpower equal to the fifth-largest army in the world and a reputation equal to the New York Yankees. I was with one of the other two. In the eyes of the world, Transit was junior varsity. Transit was Naugahyde. I already knew by 1993 a lot about what was right and what was wrong operationally with the Transit Police, but most of the NYPD problems I knew about firsthand walked around on two legs. They were the detectives who'd brag about the big cases they were working on while they were burning up the critical first few days of the investigation, sitting at a bar, bragging. They were the bareheaded patrol cops you'd see sleeping through the night in their radio cars as you drove along the FDR Highway south of Bellevue Hospital past one dead-end street after another. They were, worst of all, the conscientious objectors who sniffed, "We don't make collars," as if effecting an arrest was an activity reserved for lower life-forms. The NYPD, unfortunately, was not the only police force in the city cluttered up by such "pails"--which was the shorter, more polite term used by some of us to indicate what we thought they were full of. The story is the same in any police department: Forty percent of the force hide behind their desks. Another 40 percent perform competently but without passion and without having much impact. Ten percent hate the job so much that they try to destroy everything positive that somebody else might try to accomplish. The final 10 percent treat the job like a vocation; and those 10 percent do 90 percent of the work. During my years on patrol, I saw the same 20 Transit cops, the same 20 Housing cops, and the same 100 NYPD cops every day downtown at the courthouse. We were the only ones trying to arrest the bad guys. But that's not a situation unique to policing. They say the same pattern holds true among the bad guys. With Norwegian rats, one in about twenty is a dominant male, who will, according to behavioral scientists, turn to crimes like rape and infanticide if he's given no other outlet for his dominance. Crooks have their own overachievers. Of the 10,000 boys born in 1945 who lived in Philadelphia from the ages of ten to eighteen, about a third were arrested at least once, but an elite 6 percent were responsible for fully two-thirds of the city's violent crime. That's been the matchup for as long as anybody can remember: the cops' all-stars against the crooks' all-stars. Unfortunately, only the crooks flourish in a hit-and-run battle. I always thought that if a police department could only double the share of its cops who were truly focused on catching crooks, the momentum might shift in the public's favor. The conditions that most cops are asked to work under do very little to inspire wider devotion. The pay is miserable, for one thing. The Farfingtons of this world send their kids to Harvard, Princeton, and Yale to learn about the underlying social conditions that supposedly turn our nation's cities into infectious breeding grounds of crime, but the chief executive of the largest police department in the country can barely afford to send one child to state university. A first-grade detective in the NYPD, who has been recognized after years of service as belonging to an elite circle of criminal catchers, takes home less than a first-year analyst on Wall Street or a bricklayer who pays union dues. Fifteen hundred years ago, when the Roman army was in deep decline, the great military adviser Vegetius laid much of the blame on deteriorating recruitment standards, noting that the ancients had drawn soldiers from "the flower of Roman youth" and that the army must once again attract the defenders of the Empire from families of good reputation. In policing, we had never taken many of our troops from the Farfingtons anyway, and the trend for many years has been a steady erosion in our entry requirements. The ancient Roman soldiers, Vegetius also said, owed their superiority on the battlefield to discipline and rigorous training. In policing, we don't train recruits in crime-fighting at all. The manuals just say don't be late and follow the rules. When it comes time to subdue a prisoner resisting arrest, you have to rely on whatever tricks you'd picked up as a kid in the playground and then wait to see if you're going to be indicted for it. Academy instructors talk about how to fill out forms, and there is almost no training at all for officers who moved up the ranks to sergeant, lieutenant, captain and beyond. The U.S. armed forces will provide up to two years of training for a second lieutenant, and that second lieutenant may never have to fight a battle. In policing, where engagement with armed opponents occurs twenty-four hours a day, 365 days a year, a sergeant is lucky to receive a few weeks of specialized instruction. The facilities, today just as when I was new to the job, say everything about where a cop stands in the world. Down in the subway, where the steam in the tunnels could cook a knish, the video surveillance cameras worked in an air-conditioned room, but we dressed in a locker room where the sweat was puddling on the floor by the time you buttoned up your uniform. Forget that the furniture was all busted and everything in sight was outdated; it wasn't even kept clean. The cops might blame an abstraction like City Hall, but the surroundings made it clear just what the bosses in their own department thought of them. The job sucks, the old-timers would say, and it was too easy to adopt the general consensus on that. In every department, the perception among the cops is that the citizens, the press, and the bosses are against them, so right out of the academy, most fall immediately into a siege mentality. The cop who decides to be a crime fighter has a tough road. To begin with, an active cop creates problems for his bosses. A tour with no arrests is an easy tour for the boss, but every arrest that's made means added paperwork and added risk that some of the paperwork may be wrong. It means having to worry about a prisoner--his meals, his visits to the bathroom, and whether he gets smacked by the cop assigned to watch the cell or gets left alone and tries to hang himself in the cell. And because an arrest can take many hours to process, it means fielding questions from the captain about why the tour is running up overtime. When the crime fighter takes a prisoner downtown for arraignment, there are no welcoming parades. The young prosecutors in the district attorney's office come from a different world than most cops--in Manhattan, they could have been a time-traveling delegation from Congress's Class of 2012--and they greet many arrests with suspicion. They'd be ten minutes out of law school and deciding the charge against the stickup man they were about to face at arraignment should be reduced to petit larceny, a misdemeanor, before the plea bargaining even began, but if the case were to go to trial a year or eighteen months later and the prosecutor didn't win, the cop could expect to catch hell for losing any details of the incident to the sea of similar encounters that filled the tours between. More than in other cities, the wait until arraignment in New York was, when I was a cop, an exquisite torture. If an assistant D.A. hadn't drawn up the charges before Night Court's 1 a.m. adjournment, a cop could be sitting in an overheated courthouse for a day and a half; and even in the middle of the night, Internal Affairs' sleep deprivation squad would pop in from time to time to turn on the lights in the waiting area and make sure our eyes were open and we were sitting up straight on the molded plastic chairs. Those were all problems a crime fighter could bet on. There was also an indeterminate risk associated with each arrest that the next would be the one that hung a civilian complaint around his neck for the next year or eighteen months. Even if the cop knew he'd done no wrong, that accusation would weigh on him every single day on the job and put all hopes for career advancement on hold. Excerpted from The Crime Fighter: Putting the Bad Guys Out of Business by Jack Maple, Chris Mitchell All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

1 Prologue: It Ain't Over Till the Fat Man's Thinp. 1
2 "A Game of Bluff" What's Wrong with Policingp. 6
3 Crookology 101: Stalking the Predatory Criminalp. 35
4 Trenchcoat Warfare: Reeducating the World's Greatest Detectivesp. 64
5 Get Smart: Accurate, Timely Intelligencep. 92
6 "Put Cops on Dots" Rapid Deploymentp. 120
7 The Tool Bag: Effective Tacticsp. 149
8 Rust Patrol: Relentless Follow-up and Assessmentp. 178
9 America's Most Wanted: Guns, Gangs, and Drug Crewsp. 189
10 The Battle Within: Corruption, Brutality, and the Wrongfully Accusedp. 210
11 The Perfect World: Everybody's a Louiep. 242
Indexp. 251