Not everyone's happy about a return to Broken Windows policing in NYC

AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews

Now that New York City’s new mayor and police chief have had a few months to get up to speed, some promised changes have been showing up in how the NYPD operates in Gotham. Lax enforcement and “socially conscious” policies put in place under Bill de Blasio are being reversed, with a return to something closer to the successful Broken Windows theory of policing from earlier eras and the prosecution of so-called “quality of life” crimes. These include open usage and dealing of illegal drugs, jumping turnstiles in the subway, and aggressive panhandling. Prosecuting these lesser crimes makes criminals more aware of the risks involved in breaking the law and less likely to move up to bigger crimes later. (NYPD records indicate that nearly 70% of suspects arrested for felonies had previous arrests for various offenses.)

But not everyone is happy with this development, obviously. The same social justice warriors who complained about these police policies in the past and who pushed to defund or abolish the police are back and pitching the same complaints. New York’s Legal Aid Society, which seemingly exists for no other reason than to sue the police department, is already publicly attacking the Mayor and the NYPD. And as always, they claim these policies are “racist” based on the percentage of minorities who are arrested. But as we’ll see in a moment, there is a huge bit of data missing from their calculations. (NY Post)

All too predictably, the Legal Aid Society is attacking the NYPD’s renewed “quality of life” policing.

The direly needed shift targets such violations as selling pot, dice games, public drinking and urination, criminal trespass, fare evasion and other acts that Commissioner Keechant Sewell all too rightly calls “precursors for violence.”

Cue a Legal Aid Society study purporting to show that the effort will be racially discriminatory. It uses 2021 data indicating that the vast majority of those arrested for such offenses were black and Hispanic, and so provided fodder for the usual suspects on the City Council to assail top police brass.

As the New York Post editorial board goes on to point out, there is one critical word missing from these Legal Aid Society studies showing that a disproportionate percentage of arrests involve persons of color. The missing word is victim.

While the LAS focuses all of its energy and attention on who is being arrested, they completely ignore who is taking all of the damage from the actions of these criminals. While Black residents of the Big Apple comprise only 24% of the city’s population, they made up 65% of those murdered in 2020 and 74% of shooting victims. If you add in Hispanic residents, those minority groups make up a combined 88% of murder victims, 74% of rape victims, 69% of robbery victims, and nearly 80% of felony assault victims.

Those numbers are staggering when you consider what a small percentage of the population we’re talking about. If your concern is for the welfare of minority citizens in New York City, as the LAS claims it is, shouldn’t you be at least as worried about the number of them being murdered, shot, raped, robbed, and assaulted as you are about the number of them being arrested? And wouldn’t you want the people committing all of these outrageous crimes against Black and Hispanic New Yorkers taken off the streets, no matter what color their skin may be?

One might imagine, but that’s apparently not the case at the Legal Aid Society. In their minds, it doesn’t matter how many minority residents wind up dead or injured as long as the NYPD doesn’t try to arrest “too many” minority suspects. The reality is that the highest number of incidents of these types of crimes generally takes place in the lowest-income areas and it frequently involves members of the gangs. And the sad reality is that those areas are typically where you see the highest population density of minorities, which is also true for the members of the gangs.

While it makes anyone an immediate target of the social justice crowd to point out this obvious point, it needs to be addressed. The NYPD isn’t intentionally arresting more Black and Hispanic suspects for these types of crimes because they are ignoring all of the white investment bankers in Manhattan who are robbing, stabbing, or popping a cap into the tourists. They’re investigating and making arrests in those areas because that’s where most of the violent crime is taking place. And the very same minority residents that the LAS claims to be trying to protect are vastly disproportionately the victims of those crimes. But the LAS isn’t interested in protecting those minority residents. They are only concerned with protecting the criminals.