AFRICANGLOBE – Cops anonymously told the New York Post that they aren’t making arrests for minor crimes because they fear for their safety following the murders of two NYPD officers.
“I’m not writing any summonses. Do you think I’m going to stand there so someone can shoot me or hit me in the head with an ax?” a cop, who was granted anonymity by the Post, said. “I’m concerned about my safety. I want to go to home to my wife and kids.”
To back up these assertions, the Post reports in a separate story that arrests have nose-dived by 66 percent over the last week, fueled by huge drops in arrests for minor offenses. That percentage is based on a comparison between last week starting Dec. 22 and the same week in 2013.
It’s unclear if that comparison is valid or if low-level arrests have been down for much of the year. The Post doesn’t say and the NYPD didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
But if the Post’s numbers are to be believed, they represent a huge dip in arrests.
Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587. Summonses for low-level offenses “like public drinking and urination” dropped by 94 percent as well, the Post reports.
The Post’s sources say the “work stoppage” as the Post describes it is driven primarily by safety, but also fueled by feeling betrayed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio.
But the drop in arrests could be worse news for NYPD Chief Bill Bratton than it is for those protesting police misconduct.
Bratton helped pioneer the “broken windows” approach of policing. Proponents of the broken windows theory believe that law enforcement cracking down on low-level offenses leads to a drop in more serious crimes.
The theory is controversial and its effectiveness has been repeatedly cast into doubt.
Even criminologist James Q. Wilson, one of the originators of the broken windows theory, describes it as “a speculation.”
“I still to this day do not know if improving order will or will not reduce crime,” Wilson said in 2004.
Those who have protested the recent murders of Eric Garner and other African-Americans at the hands of police have explicitly criticized broken windows policing.
It was an attempt to arrest Eric Garner for the low-level offense of allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes that, a coroner’s report said, led to his death.
At a rally earlier this month, the chant, “Broken windows, broken lives,” could be heard echoing in the streets.
By: Simon McCormack