From DNAinfo New York:
The NYPD has ordered the city’s 77 police precincts to stop giving out any information to the media about crimes taking place in their neighborhoods, cutting off a long-standing source of information for New Yorkers.
According to a terse NYPD edict transmitted citywide, precinct commanders were instructed: “Any requests by media to view complaint reports be referred to the office of the Deputy Commissioner For Public Information.”
The NYPD’s public information office, known as DCPI, typically disemminates only select major crimes such as murders, sexual assaults and grand larcenies, but often does not include lower level neighborhood crimes. Those complaints could traditionally be found at the precinct, a reliable source for information of interest for residents.
According to sources, the latest media restriction was sent last week to the precinct supervisors from their borough commanders, who received the transmission from the NYPD’s Chief of Patrol James Hall.
Reporters from DNAinfo New York, and other local news sites, experienced the crackdown this week when they were told that access to the precinct’s reports were suddenly revoked. The crackdown was first reported by The Nabe.
“It’s a big policy change,” a source said
However, the source questioned whether DCPI would be able to cope with the influx of media requests if reporters couldn’t get information from the precincts. “DCPI is a small unit, so I don’t know how they’re going to handle it.”
Of course, they won’t be able to handle the number of media requests for information. By centralizing the process the NYPD is deliberately causing a traffic jam for reporters searching for information. From NYPD’s perspective, this is a feature of the new policy, not a bug.
So now, local neighborhood crime and law enforcement is moving out of the daylight into the shadow realm of secrecy. Local police are already being federalized; so now they are going to start resembling the hidden agencies like the NSA.