A prominent New York community group honored the Midtown Community Court for its enduring contributions to the neighborhood in the form of safer streets and improved quality of life. The Broadway Association, which has represented businesses in Times Square since 1911, presented its Golden Scroll Award to the Midtown Court’s presiding judge, Richard M. Weinberg, at a luncheon on Jan. 17.
The award expresses appreciation for the court’s 13 years “fostering, promoting, and improving public safety and quality of life in New York City.” The award also credits the court’s partners, including the New York State Unified Court System, the Center for Court Innovation, and law enforcement, for helping the Midtown Court serve as a “model of problem-solving justice.”
New York State Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye gave the keynote address. Chuck Scarborough, a local anchorman with NBC, served as master of ceremonies.
The Midtown Community Court was established in 1993. The nation’s first community court, it has been credited with playing a pivotal role in the turn-around of Times Square, a neighborhood once plagued with drug dealing, prostitution, and rampant quality-of life crime. The court uses a combination of punishment and help to address problems that offenders bring to court. It also actively engages the community in developing solutions to safety issues.
Independent evaluators have documented that the Midtown Community Court’s focus on low-level crime contributed to a significant drop in local street crime and improved attitudes toward justice.
The success of the Midtown Court has led to the development of nearly three dozen community courts around the U.S. and replications in several countries around the world.
The awards luncheon was held in the Marriot Marquis on Jan. 17.