NYPD Work Slowdown Is Actually Pretty Great

People are beginning to notice the effects of the NYPD drop in arrests for petty crimes and traffic tickets, in what police feel is a way to show their frustration with Mayor de Blasio. Courtrooms are quieter and bail bondsmen are finding themselves with a lot more free time:

Only 347 criminal summonses were written in the seven days through Sunday, down from 4,077 in the same period a year ago. … The drop in arrests is particularly striking for low-level misdemeanors and so-called quality of life violations, like riding a bike on the sidewalk. Arrests for offenses that a few weeks ago were common — loitering, turnstile jumping, lying down on subway benches — are suddenly rare.

And yet crime has not dramatically risen:

“This proves to us is what we all knew as defenders: You can end broken-windows policing without ending public safety,” said Justine M. Luongo, the deputy attorney-in-charge of criminal practice for the Legal Aid Society.

Maybe the NYPD will learn it doesn’t need such aggressive policing of the poor and black and brown people. Then again, how how will the city survive without all that extra revenue they get from needless tickets and court fees?

Team Blackness also discussed why needing three meals a day is really just a myth, a Duck Dynasty star’s pro-choice walkback, and new developments at TWIB.

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48 replies
  1. 1
    Elizabelle says:

    Glad to see this. Hoping Patrick Lynch’s boys and girls in blue have shot themselves in the foot with their ridiculous behavior.

    Who can complain about an end to nuisance policing? Maybe we need fewer, but better trained and selected, police.

    Lose the burnouts and attitude cases.

  2. 2
    Patricia Kayden says:

    “Maybe the NYPD will learn it doesn’t need such aggressive policing of the poor and black and brown people.”

    Despite their predictions to the contrary. Fox News must be very sad about this outcome. It must be shocking to them that Black and Brown people aren’t quite as savage as they predicted.

  3. 3
    charluckles says:

    It has fascinating implications for our entire approach to criminal justice. Not just NYC.

  4. 4
    Cacti says:

    I think the NYPD has bought into their own hype for too long and didn’t anticipate the other possible outcome to their tantrum…

    What if they stop “broken windows policing” harrassment of the citizenry and nothing happens?

    What happens is they make the point of their critics that too much of policing is heavy handed gestapo crap.

  5. 5
    BR says:

    How might the word get spread about this? I don’t think people know about this more widely, or get what this means.

    That is, people might hear about the work slowdown, but might not connect two and two and realize that the fact that crime hasn’t skyrocketed means that the work that they normally was doing was useless. That connection is somewhat subtle, and needs to be pointed out…

  6. 6
    Tom Betz says:

    I’m waiting for the first gang of disguised (maybe in blackface) off-duty cops to go out on a crime spree to try to justify the need for aggressive policing as the crime rate continues to fall. There’s gotta be a movie plot in this situation.

  7. 7
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    So, what are some of the minor offenses that are still leading to arrests?

    Those arrested for relatively minor offenses now stand out. On Wednesday morning in Manhattan, William Talen, 64, who calls himself Reverend Billy, awaited arraignment. He had been arrested on Tuesday afternoon as he gave a sermon in Grand Central Terminal — protesting police brutality.

    Heh.

  8. 8
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @Tom Betz:

    There’s gotta be a movie plot in this situation.

    I hear Seth Rogen’s looking for a new project.

  9. 9
    Mike J says:

    During normal times, how much does harassment contribute to the idea of CPT?

    “This is how it’s supposed to be,” he reiterates. “We feel safe. And for once, we’re not running late – usually we always be running late because of having been hassled.”

    https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/01/08/life-without-police

  10. 10
    Paul in KY says:

    Hope this is one of those ‘hoist by your own petard’ moments by the NYPD union.

  11. 11
    MomSense says:

    @Cacti:

    I think the NYPD has bought into their own hype for too long and didn’t anticipate the other possible outcome to their tantrum…

    Yeah I was wondering about this, too. Did they think that their slowdown would result in Mayhem or is this just a way to lower revenues during their contract negotiations?

    If the former, it just goes to show how poorly they know the communities they serve.

  12. 12
    kc says:

    @FormerSwingVoter:

    Sounds like a violation of his First Amendment rights.

  13. 13
    Citizen_X says:

    Could we import some of those French cops to take the NYPD slackers’ places? Cause they seem pretty badass.

    Not to mention that it looks like they’ve worked off a few more of the jelly-filled croissants than our guys have.

  14. 14
    Mike in NC says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Seth Rogen’s looking for a new project.

    Seth did “Observe and Report”, where he played a loser who aspired to be something better than a shopping mall security guard. The real cops treated him like dirt at every opportunity because they didn’t think he was good enough to join the force. Ray Liotta played a detective who came across as just another angry thug.

  15. 15
    John Revolta says:

    I don’t know what they thought the results of this slowdown would be, but it’s not working out for them, and it’s gonna end badly. When they inevitably step back up to the previous levels of enforcement/harassment, there’s going to be all kinds of pushback. This story’s just getting started.

  16. 16
    Roger Moore says:

    @Mike J:

    During normal times, how much does harassment contribute to the idea of CPT?

    It’s not supposed to have any relationship. Community Policing is supposed to be about getting police out of their cars and into their communities, so they have regular contact with people in their area other than criminals. The idea is to build up a strong relationship between the police and the community, so that the people feel comfortable interacting with the police and vice versa. The harassment of ordinary people falls under the category of “broken windows” policing, where the police are supposed to pursue even the most trivial offenses on the theory that it will prevent neighborhood decay and keep people who commit petty crimes from progressing to more serious ones. They’re really separate concepts, and as far as I can tell, “broken windows” policing tends to interfere with the kind of close, congenial relationship between police and ordinary people that community policing is supposed to build.

  17. 17
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Patricia Kayden: The pause on broken windows is Mitt Romney victory all over again. Their claims that de Blasio would bring back the crime rates of the Dinkins years (crime dropped under Dinkins, a first order effect of forces that weren’t much under mayoral or police control, fwiw) is now as naked as an unskewed poll in 2012.

    They really are so deep in their bubble that they believe their own propaganda.

    Some quality of life stuff probably does have to be pursued for good police/community relations but this super aggressive attitude towards really minor shit was only ever a tactic with marginal utility. It isn’t the end all and be all of policing and clearly was well past its point of marginal utility.

    Also, bikes on the sidewalk? Only NYPD gets that ragey about bikes. Oh, and some black hats in Williamsburg who are pissed about barearmed shiksas* “trespassing” their hood on public streets. (The same asshats who tried to separate the genders on a PUBLIC bus. Israel’s the source of this contagion, even though it’s illegal there too, because they never separated church and state.)

    I’m sure they’ve just been fielding ones and twos of calls all day about the menace of hipster fixies on the sidewalks.

    *-think “hussies” and you don’t have to be not Jewish to be a shiksa to these bochurs

  18. 18
    Monala says:

    Yup.

  19. 19
    drkrick says:

    It’s been claimed that while the city will miss the revenue from parking tickets, the rest of the stuff that they’ve stopped pursuing is pretty much break even at best as a financial proposition. The PBA people are going to be getting a lot less in overtime when they don’t have to be in court so much – it will be interesting to see whether that affects support of Lynch.

  20. 20
    Monala says:

    @Roger Moore: Great reply, but CPT in Mike’s comment referred to “colored people’s time” (i.e., the idea that black people are always late, although other cultures have similar sayings), and not community policing.

  21. 21
    Mike J says:

    @Roger Moore: I wasn’t referring to community policing.

  22. 22
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Tom Betz:

    I’m waiting for the first gang of disguised (maybe in blackface) off-duty cops to go out on a crime spree to try to justify the need for aggressive policing as the crime rate continues to fall. There’s gotta be a movie plot in this situation.

    Please. NYC cops are already on a crime spree. A cop recently assaulted an MTA worker. Gin & Tacos had a write up about how the media language changed once it became clear the assailant was a cop. From “thuggish” to “alleged”. Last year an undercover cop who was part of a motorcycle gang that was mobbing a highway pursued a motorist they blamed for hurting one of the cyclists and cornered him, pulled him from the car, and beat him. (Actually, I am not super sympathetic towards this motorist because however annoying the motorcycles were, his actions could have killed somebody. And it’s a human reaction to lash out against someone or something that tries to kill you, even if it was stupidity and not malice.) The cop had to turn himself in and I guess cars are still king in NYC because it wasn’t so much on the “alleged” that time. Transit worker, though, fuck them, right? I guess it’s classism? Speaking of transportation modes, I think they finally got some justice in the case of that rookie cop who deliberately knocked a random, law abiding bicyclist to the ground but it took forever with P Lynch defending him all the way. The last was in uniform.

    Oh, and then there are all the cops raping women. Had you heard about that?

    Oh, and there was the cop who tried to procure a child to rape.

    Just follow New York Daily News, they have all the latest on the blue crime wave.

  23. 23
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @FormerSwingVoter: Could be an interesting brief if he gets the right lawyer.

  24. 24
    Tree With Water says:

    “Maybe the NYPD will learn it doesn’t need such aggressive policing of the poor and black and brown people. Then again, how how will the city survive without all that extra revenue they get from needless tickets and court fees”?

    For some reason that scenario reminds me of The Ransom of Red Chief, with a spin. And if that is how it pans out, it will be hilarious.

  25. 25
    EthylEster says:

    @Citizen_X:

    Could we import some of those French cops to take the NYPD slackers’ places? Cause they seem pretty badass.

    I do not want badass police.

  26. 26
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @EthylEster:

    I do not want badass police.

    Think he was referring to the murdered cop. The gunman said, “Are you going to kill me?” and the cop said, “No, it’s okay, boss.” Trying to defuse the situation. Not exact words, just going from memory. That kind of badass.

  27. 27
    Roger Moore says:

    @Monala: @Mike J:
    Sorry. I’m isolated enough that I didn’t get the reference.

  28. 28
    fuckwit says:

    This sounds like it could be a situation where everyone wins, if the City and union can agree to make this the new standard of work.

    People can walk around black or brown in safety, living in a lot more peace, and not get harrassed or persecuted.

    The union gets easier working conditions for the cops. The cops get a much easier job, less pressure, less work.

    The City can get by with fewer cops, which means lower budgets, which also means the taxpayers can win.

    And everyone gets to live in a lower-pressure, lower tension world.

    There has got to be a catch somewhere, probably multiple catches (and probably they’re all in that first “if” above), but who knows.

  29. 29
    ET says:

    Please tell me that riding a bike on the sidewalk is not an arrestable offense in NYC. If it is that is just dumb-ass…….

  30. 30
    NonyNony says:

    @fuckwit:

    There has got to be a catch somewhere, probably multiple catches (and probably they’re all in that first “if” above), but who knows.

    I think the catch is the tension between these two points:

    The union gets easier working conditions for the cops. The cops get a much easier job, less pressure, less work.

    The City can get by with fewer cops, which means lower budgets, which also means the taxpayers can win.

    Fewer cops means the union loses jobs, which is not a win for the police.

  31. 31
    Arclite says:

    One thing I never got about the Eric Garner case. He was arrested (and subsequently killed) for selling loosies, and that’s illegal because you aren’t collecting the tax on the cigs that way. But didn’t Garner already pay the tax when he bought the cigs in the first place?

  32. 32
    boatboy_srq says:

    @Another Holocene Human: When growing up in the (nameless) South, it was not dissimilar: one trusted the county Sheriff to enforce the law with reason and something like even-handedness, and one trusted the city PD to deal the drugs and then shake down their clients arrest the users and retrieve their inventory confiscate the stash. NYPD sounds like it’s on the same path as my old local PD.

  33. 33
    boatboy_srq says:

    @NonyNony: Agreed. It’s humane, it’s rational, it’s good for citizens and for city budgets – and it screams of Conservatist steps to shrink Big Gubmint.

  34. 34

    @Arclite:

    There’s a whole New York/New Jersey thing about cigarettes and cigarette taxes that I frankly do not understand. It apparently is or was common for the Mafia to smuggle cigarettes and sell them illegally, but I never understood how it worked.

  35. 35
    Bystander says:

    Riding a bike on the sidewalk is not an offense for which one is arrested. It’s a ticket. It’s also necessary to patrol since many bicyclists don’t believe any rules apply to them, including ceding right of way to pedestrians on sidewalks. Anybody who lives in Manhattan has multiple horror stories. Not to mention the out of control jaywalking that makes driving in the city an exercise in dodge ’em.

    That said, this is a pretty hilarious exploding cigar for the police.

  36. 36
    Bystander says:

    Go to Virginia and buy cases and cases of cigs at $2.50 a pack. Drive them into Manhattan and sell them out of the back of the truck for $5.00 a pack. Patrolling this makes sense and the cops most certainly do. Murdering somebody for selling loose cigarettes from a pack is the natural consequence when you have unbridled, power mad idiots who are cheered on by their union.

  37. 37
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): They drive the cigs up from Virginia or North Carolina, where the tax is substantially lower. Still happens all the time.

  38. 38
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Bystander: My son got a bicycle ticket for not fully dismounting and walking in one of the pedestrian areas on Broadway (Herald Square or Times Square.) He was straddling the bike and going at a walking pace by pushing along on one foot and got ticketed anyway. Getting off and walking in cleated shoes is actually not much fun.

  39. 39

    @Bystander:

    This is where my West Coast bias shows — things just aren’t that close together out here. For one example, the distance from Los Angeles to Blythe (on the CA/AZ border) is only about 100 miles less than the distance from NYC to Virginia, and you cross at least three state lines for the latter trip. To reach a similarly situated state from Los Angeles, you’d have to drive to, say, Texas, which is about 1,200 miles one way. It’s just not practical to do.

  40. 40
    Mike J says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Cig prices by state. You don’t really need mob connections to bring a truck full up from Virginia. Hop on the PATH train and they’re $4/pack cheaper in NJ.

    The mass shippers from cheaper places will make bigger profits, but the difference is big enough that even independent entrepreneurs can enter the market with a minimal investment.

  41. 41
    Bystander says:

    Most people don’t realize that cigarettes are, what, like at least $12 a pack in NYC? It’s a multimillion dollar business.

  42. 42

    @Mike J:

    Thanks! The Western states seem to cluster pretty closely together, with California on the low side. You’d make a few bucks buying cigarettes in Oregon and selling them in Washington, but not enough to get organized crime interested.

  43. 43
    another Holocene human says:

    @Bystander: Why won’t those pedestrians get out of my f***ing way? ! They belong in a zoo not on the streets!

    Robrt Moses lives.

  44. 44
    another Holocene human says:

    @Gin & Tonic: mohawks smuggle them from Canada, big issue between state and provincial governments

  45. 45
    Mumbles says:

    And to think, all it took to get to this temporary slowdown that has actually improved life for many, was

    1) di Blasio saying exactly what everyone who has so much as spoken to a black parent on the subject knows every damn black family teaches their children, – and furthermore, exactly what the police in multiple areas keep telling and showing us. Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford III, that dude that was just cosplaying, the protestors in Ferguson, Levar Jones, that kid who got punched out in NYC for smoking a cigarette…have I forgotten any major, nationally known case of police going absolutely berserk on a black person, on camera, since the start of last summer? Maybe that woman that the cop repeatedly punched in the face on the side of the road? Black women tend to get short thrift in all this, even for black people, and I know that.

    2) a deranged maniac from Maryland, who probably never heard what di Blasio said, who shot his ex-girlfriend before traveling to NYC to kill two cops.

    Huh. Seems like a wild amount of death and injury for a temporary change in questionable policing, in one city. Shows how intrenched this “law-and-order” nonsense is.

  46. 46
    pluege says:

    the great refudiation of rudy ghouliani!

  47. 47
    agorabum says:

    @MomSense: They totally bought into their own hype; just like all the commentators claiming electing De Blasio would make it 1989 on the streets again.
    They forget that the drop in crime is based on nationwide trends, not on anything done specifically in NYC (mainly that the youth is just better today with less lead poisoning), and that a rich and fancy NYC is never going to have the same crime as a hollowed out city in the midst of the crack epidemic.
    Even with the NYC blackout a few years ago, when absolutely nothing happened, the cops still believe the barbarians are at the gate and its just the ‘thin blue line’ preventing total anarchy.

  48. 48
    Ben says:

    So perhaps there’s a correlation between the over-zealous, people-of-color-hating-cops and those who are refusing to do their jobs because they are having a tantrum about being told to behave themselves. Maybe they should just fire all the assholes who refuse to do their jobs and see what happens. “Meh, turns out we don’t NEED people like you in our police force. Here’s your pink slip and 20 dollar gift card for caribou. Now fuck off!”

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