Newspaper panicked that cops won’t make more arrests over “minor crimes.”
In the first place, let’s be clear about the New York Post’s narrative. They are claiming that current police behavior is driven by fear of being shot. Their headline cries: “Arrests plummet 66% with NYPD in virtual work stoppage.”
And the reason for this horrible decline in productivity?
It’s not a slowdown — it’s a virtual work stoppage.
NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety, The Post has learned.
But those cops weren’t shot as revenge for issuing “traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses.” They were shot by a maniac while doing nothing but sitting in their patrol car. The coward opened fire on them from behind. And he did it, as far as I have seen, mainly in response to Michael Brown being shot in Ferguson. (The video of Eric Garner also fed into his psychotic episode.) I don’t see how the violent encounter in Ferguson has much to do with day to day operations in New York City.
I have a hard time believing that the NYPD (or anyone in New York City) thinks that everyone is now out hunting police.
Sure enough, the Post story eventually mentions another reason for the “stoppage”:
The Post obtained the numbers hours after revealing that cops were turning a blind eye to some minor crimes and making arrests only “when they have to” since the execution-style shootings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
Police sources said Monday that safety concerns were the main reason for the dropoff in police activity, but added that some cops were mounting an undeclared slowdown in protest of de Blasio’s response to the non-indictment in the police chokehold death of Eric Garner.
“The call last week from the PBA is what started it, but this has been simmering for a long time,” one source said.
“This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake. Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.”
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has warned its members to put their safety first and not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary.”
This isn’t fear; this is simply a kind of strike. The story tells us of “angry union leaders” because this is more a story about a public union trying to win something from the city’s elected leaders than it is about a real security issue.
But, notice the results: The police are not to “make arrests ‘unless absolutely necessary.’”
That’s exactly what anyone should want. No arrests unless absolutely necessary.
Notice what is missing from the New York Post story: Is there any evidence that New York City traffic has become paralyzed from law-breaking now that the police have cut down on traffic citations?
The reporters who are so intent to frighten us about police inaction on “minor crimes” don’t remember to show us how badly the city is suffering due to this terrible neglect.
Scott Shackford at Reason.com points out the real reason for not making arrests: to choke off city revenue.
The NYPD’s failure to arrest and cite people will also end up costing the city huge amounts of money that it won’t be able to seize from its citizens, which is likely the real point. That’s the “punishment” for the de Blasio administration for not supporting them. One has to wonder if they even understand, or care, that their “work stoppage” is giving police state critics exactly what they want—less harsh enforcement of the city’s laws.
No doubt police are hoping that citizens will be furious when police don’t do anything about the hobo pissing on the wall in the alley or won’t make the guy in apartment 3b turn down the racket at four in the morning. And they’re probably right to a certain degree. But if they think the city is going to turn into sheer anarchy over the failure to enforce petty regulations, they’re probably going to be disappointed. Over at the Washington Examiner, Timothy Carney challenged the assumption that police are all that stand between us and mayhem. He used the Washington, D.C., chief of police’s complaints that pulling officers away to deal with protesters kept police from preventing “homicides and shootings and violent crimes and robberies and burglaries right before the holidays.” Carney noted:
In the week of Dec. 13 through Dec. 20 — the week when most of these protests happened, dragging MPD away from the neighborhoods — no homicides were reported. Not a single one. Only one homicide happened in D.C. in the two weeks following the grand jury decision to not indict the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold — police say it happened on a Tuesday morning.
As a NYC cop pointed out to me, on Sept. 11, 2001, there was no upswing in crime. Nor immediately after Hurricane Sandy.
We obviously need police. But if anyone believes that our police, in their large numbers, their liberty to engage, and their military-style arsenals, are the only guards against bedlam, they might be misguided.
Presumably, next year, after this all dies down, the NYPD may note a big drop of crime in December entirely because they stopped finding reasons to charge people with crimes.
Remember how the NYPD have been known to enforce jaywalking laws, or how the city officials act like they are above the traffic laws they impose on others. And ask yourself if you want this kind of arrest happening more than is “absolutely necessary.”