New York City has been experiencing a 2 week decline in arrests that are being said to be the lowest for the city since 1963. American law enforcement has been waging war on something since 1971’s war on drugs declaration from Nixon. What is most interesting is the information that is exposed as everyone investigate the cause of this major decline in arrests. Are New York City police running scared because of the recent string of police murders? Are they refusing to make low-level arrests because they making some protest against the police protests that have swept the nation? Or has crime actually declined in New York City over the past 2 weeks?
New York City Crime
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio stated that 2014 saw a 4.6% drop in overall crime rates. 2014 had the least amount of murders in recorded New York City history as well as the lowest robbery and burglary rates in the past 10 years. These statistics would have to be accurate unless police officers were simply ignoring 9-1-1 calls.
During the last seven days 1,191 parking tickets were written compared to 16,0008 last year. 749 traffic tickets were written compared to 9,349 tickets from last year. 347 criminal summonses were written for minor crimes like public drinking and urination as opposed to 4,077 last week. These statistics would be more easily manipulated by police behavior in that officers have discretion upon whom they ticket and who they do not. The fact that these stats declined in the last 2 weeks could be the result of a decline in police actively ticketing and writing summonses as they normally would.
Internally it seems to be believed or it is at least being perpetrated that officers behavior is behind the decline and not an actual decline in crime. It would seem that internally the police department would not want to say that officers are ‘acting out’ for any reason; however, the fact that the police department had been at opposition with Mayor Bill de Blasio and since de Blasio has been boasting about the lowering of the crime rate since he has taken office, it would seem that they be opting to strike out at the mayor and may later come to the defense of officers citing their grieving over lost comrades or fear from the streak of police murders. Police Commissioner William J. Bratton stated, “I will look specifically – precinct by precinct, tour of duty by tour of duty, sector car by sector car, officer by officer – and we will deal with it very appropriately, if we have to.” He also added, “We may see that things begin to return to normal on their own volition.”
A Series of Unfortunate Events
This anomaly in crime statistics is one sign that between the civilian murders by police and the strike back through police murders by unknown assailaint(s) will have a much more widespread affect than the individual casualties being noted. The causality might be as follows:
The much publicized murder investigations of young People of Color such as Michael Brown and Eric Garner inspired a generation of new activists to protest and grab the nation’s attention. That attention has caused politicians to engage in a discussion regarding police behavior and law enforcement policies. That discussion has led to a review of law enforcement policies and exposed a number of legislative measures that were quietly passed and have given police officers more power than they know what to do with and more protection than any public servant should have. This has encouraged revising of current policies and the drafting of new policies to address the issues. Those policies have caused some upset with police departments throughout the country and caused opposition from many police unions. Their opposition may have caused police officers to react through lack of duty (such as is discussed in this post) and that lack of duty has caused this drop in crime statistics.
The point is that what is happening in New York City could very well take place in any and every state in the country. The forces at work are not exclusive to new York City. This is not just about murders of civilians and police officers. Nor is just about police departments/unions and legislation. There is another factor that will play a part in the shaping of the ultimate consequences of this series of events. Money.
Everything in America is about money, except money. Money in America is about power. The city’s independent budget office reported that New York City made 546 million dollars in revenue from parking fines in 2014, which averages about $10.5 million a week. If the decline in ticketing and arrests continue, there is sure to be a hit in the pockets of any city in which this happens. This will definitely get the attention of local governments in regards to their budgets. Whether or not they put pressure on officers to bring those numbers (and the money) back up or whether they find more innovative ways to manage their budgets will be different in every case and is yet to be seen.
A war has been declared between local citizens and the officers that they have given the power to protect and serve them. Civilian rights, psychological health, community peace, local government revenues, and legislation are all hanging in the balance of this war. With that many factions having a stake, things are sure to get messy and confusing. Each group is pushing their own agenda and those of us who are following what happens must be conscious of that fact when reviewing information and deciding where we stand. However, what I can say with utter assurance is that somewhere around the time that the colonies were first established in America it was decided that governments should be governed by the people in the interests of the people. While conservatives often espouse anti-Americanism when speaking about progression and liberal ideals, what we see now is the most egregious assault on the American ideals this country has ever seen.
I’m not sayin: I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man