TAKE SOCIAL EVIL FROM
The Nine Discusses Plan for Bureau to Govern It.
WOULD BE BLOW AT GRAFT
Member Believe City Would Be Better Off and Police Would Have Less Temptation
The establishment of a bureau to regulate the social evil was the principle subject discussed at the meeting of the Committee of Nine at the office of Isaac N. Seligman, 21 Broad Street, yesterday. Chairman Austen G. Fox of the committee presided, and there were present Committeemen Baldwin, McKeen, Milburn, Osburn and Schiff.
The plan outlined provides for the establishment of a bureau to be similar in many respects to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children. It contemplates taking out of the hands of the police the supervision of disorderly houses, arrests, and so on, and will deal with the "cadet" system. The plan as talked over thus far does not contemplate segregation, but proposes to deal with the evil just as it exists at the present time in this city.
The plan was considered by men who were spoken to about it, the most practical that has yet been suggested. It would have a twofold and incalculable value, it was point out, not only leading to purity the city, but taking away from the police one of their principal source of revenue.
To illustrate this it was pointed out by men familiar with the abuses existing in this city that whenever there has been an investigation, such as the Lexow inquiry, sooner or later the accusation has always been made that Captains or others connected with the Police Department had levied blackmail upon the keepers of disorderly houses. The accusations have not stopped there. Charges have been made against many officials who have had to do the administration of the law for the punishment of these unfortunates down to the policemen on whose beats it has flourished.
The Captains of the various precincts have especially come under the cloud. The sudden rise to wealth of several has been followed by the accusation that the money they invested in real estate, often in the building in which the disorderly houses flourish, was the tribute exacted from vice.
How true or untrue these charges are, it was pointed out, will be tested by the proposed plan. If the charges are untrue, and the police derive no revenue from these houses, they cannot object to the establishment of the bureau which will take away a great deal of their work, and in reality the most unpleasant part of it. If, on the other hand, they raised a hue and cry about the impracticability of it, it will be evidence of their guilt.
The plan is believed to be the outcome of an investigation set on foot some time ago by Magistrate Cornell, Isaac N. Seligman and Jacob H. Schiff, in an effort to better conditions, particularly on the east side.
The establishment of the bureau and its operation is considered to be perfectly practicable. The committee will further discuss the plan at its meeting to-day.
So far as could be learned yesterday the committee is not in favor of taking the enforcement of the excise law out of the hands of the police. The draft of the preliminary report has been prepared, as well as the proposed amendments to the law relating to the Police Department. The report will be made public nest week possibly on Thursday. Commissioner McAdoo will be asked to attend the meeting on Monday.