Village resident, journalist, and criminologist David Anderson died last week and will be remembered Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Quakers’ Brooklyn Meeting House at 110 Schermerhorn Street in Brooklyn. A member of the New York Times editorial board for 12 years, Anderson, 62, was a booming voice for what he called “sensible justice,” the title of one his four books.
An expert on policing and sentencing practices, he championed the NYPD’s Compstat strategies, fiercely opposed the death penalty, and creatively argued for prison alternatives for nonviolent offenders. His book, Crime and the Politics of Hysteria, focused on the political exploitation of the fear of crime in the Willie Horton case. Also a deeply sensitive student of foster care and adoption, he adopted four black children and wrote a pioneering book in 1971 called Children of Special Value: Interracial Adoption in America. He was the director of communications for the Ford Foundation in recent years, and published the Ford Foundation Report.
Bob Gangi, executive director of the Correctional Association of New York, called Anderson “a wise, thoughtful and progressive supporter of a fair and balanced criminal justice system.”
A committed Quaker, he was trustee of the New York Quarterly Meeting and served as minister and counsel to the Brooklyn Monthly Meeting. He was also a trustee of the Mary McDowell Center for Learning in Brooklyn and his widow Elizabeth Burke Gilmore and family request that, in lieu of flowers, contributions in his name be made to the center or two other organizations he strongly supported: Coalition to Stop Gun Violence 1023 15th Street N.W., Suite 600 Washington, D.C.; or Columbia Land Conservancy P.O. Box 299 Chatham, New York, 12037.