HOW TEDDY ROOSEVELT STOPPED A CRIME WAVE. Teddy Roosevelt was in a political bind. There was a reform police board, which Roosevelt—and Steffens and Riis—were supporting. And New York was in the middle of what Steffens calls “one of the worst crime waves I ever witnessed”. And yet statistics showed that the number of crimes was declining and the number of arrests was increasing.
Roosevelt was told that his friends Steffens and Riis had started the competition, and that they would be happy to have it ended. Roosevelt called Steffens and Riis into his office and harangued them. Steffens and Riis were indeed happy to stop the competition. Steffens concludes: “When Riis and I ceased reporting robberies the poker combine resumed their game….The criminals could work o’ night, honest citizens could sleep, and judges could afford to be more just.”