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Jan 06 2015

Crime Rates Dropped In NYC & Around the Country Last Year

Homicide rates are falling in most major cities across the US, especially in cities like New York, Detroit and Chicago. What is most notable in NYC is that the overall crime rate has fallen in 2014, the first year of the de Balsio administration, despite the end of “stop and frisk,” which was declared unconstitutional as carried out by the NYPD.

While this is good news, the NYPD has continued to throw its prolonged temper tantrum. Again on Sunday at the funeral for slain NYC Police Officer Wenjian Liu, a group of thin skinned members turned their backs to the screen as the mayor spoke. Since the slaying of the two officers on December 20, arrests and ticketing had fallen dramatically in all five boroughs

Police union leaders have denied the declines represent any organized work action, though they have urged their members to put their own safety first, which could curb enforcement in all but the clearest situations that called for an arrest.

The sustained declines, however, suggest something of a coordinated effort, even if it was not sanctioned by union leaders.

“People are talking to each other,” Edward D. Mullins, president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, said on Sunday. “It became contagious.”

Even though both the mayor and his police commissioner William Bratton are touting  “Broken Windows” and a modified “stop and frisk,” declaring the policies are “here to stay,” the slow down may prove that the policies are broken. Civil rights attorney and former Brooklyn, N.Y., prosecutor, Charles F, Coleman, Jr. believes “Broken Windows” is a failure and it’s time to drop it.

At this point, there has been no significant impact to public safety because of the slowdown-during which tickets and summons for minor offenses have dropped more than 90 percent-and we’ve seen anything but the doomsday crime spree that Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch seemed to hope might cause widespread fear among New Yorkers.

Lynch, who leads the NYPD’s largest and most influential union, has been very critical of de Blasio in past weeks, accusing him of expressing anti-policing sentiments in his remarks after the Staten Island grand jury’s nonindictment in the Eric Garner choke hold case. [..]

In many ways, the slowdown is backfiring terribly and should force a bigger discussion about not only the need to revisit the “broken windows” approach to law enforcement in urban communities but also the age-old trend of funding America’s cities on the backs of the poor.

The broken-windows approach to law enforcement, which de Blasio endorsed during the early days of his tenure, is essentially Reaganomics’ trickle-down theory of policing. (Remember how well that worked out?) The idea is essentially that focusing on strict policing of smaller offenses will deter larger crimes from happening. However, the notion that police, by cracking down on low-level crimes like selling loose cigarettes and open containers, are going to deter hardened criminals is a dubious theory at best. This is, in part, because economics drives most real crime more than any other factor. [..]

So what is the real takeaway from the NYPD slowdown where “broken windows” is concerned? We already knew that it was flawed in theory, and we have seen it fail miserably in application. One wild and crazy idea is that this approach to policing and the slowdown are both about little more than power and economics. The Police Department is attempting to flex its muscles to remind de Blasio and the thousands of nonviolent protesters who have dared to speak out against NYPD practices that the city needs them. The message is essentially that, even beyond the prevention of crime, police are still needed to help generate critical amounts of revenue for the city’s operating budget.

These silly games aren’t limited to the Big Apple, however. From as far away as Ferguson, Mo., we’ve witnessed how municipalities balance their budgets on the backs of the poor through the financial windfall created by excessive fines and tickets (which, as an aside, invalidates the claim that there’s no such thing as police quotas). The same thing can be said forWashington, D.C., Philadelphia, Los Angeles and scores of other cities across the country. Pat Lynch is no doubt aware of this, and beyond any ineffective fear tactics, his real play here may very well be an intentional swipe at the city’s pocketbook, which could threaten to hijack next year’s budget.

If anything, that seems like a real crime worth policing.

Chris Hayes, host of MSNBC’s “All In,” addressed the massive drop in crime, the slow down and “Broken Windows” with author and former NYC police officer Pater Moskos.

It’s time for the end of this discriminatory policy and focus on the real concerns of our communities, jobs and education.

1 comment

  1. TMC

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