As you may be aware, things have gotten weird with the NYPD over the past several weeks. In what amounts to the police force in our nation’s largest city throwing a temper tantrum over either the brutal murder of 2 officers or the sudden attention being paid to how police officers treat the city’s minority residents in the wake of the stop and frisk scandals and the death of Eric Garner, the NYPD’s numbers are all down. Arrests are down somewhere in the neighborhood of 50%, and citations appear to have plummeted to a fraction of the norm, resulting in arraignment numbers dropping by nearly a third. While the NYPD has denied that this is any kind of coordinated lack-of-effort, that claim is laughable and it’s obvious that the police officers have banded together to show us how much New York City needs them and how horrible life will be when they stop performing the duties they swore to perform.
Too bad most people are barely noticing and that those who have noticed are thrilled.
Few managers in the court system expect the current downturn to last. Many public defenders, however, said they hope the steep decline in minor arrests will become permanent. They noted felonies did not rise over the last three weeks as arrests for low-level crimes plummeted.
“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.