Why I'm worried about New York City

12/31/2014 10:21:00 AM
The New York post reports that the NYPD has gone on strike:
"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....Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame. Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300. Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241. Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63."
As a Cincinnatian, I've seen this all before:
"Nearly two months after an officer was indicted for killing an unarmed black suspect, Cincinnati police are so demoralized that they are ignoring some minor crimes and looking for jobs in the suburbs. Arrests are down 35 percent compared with May and June a year ago. Revenue from traffic tickets is down significantly — drivers paid $25,000 during May, compared with more than $90,000 in fines the same time last year. Judges and lawyers report lighter dockets as fewer defendants appear in court."
That's from the Cincinnati Enquirer, a few months after the outbreak of the 2001 race riots. The police protest, then and now, has been attributed as the cause of a resurgence in Cincinnati violence for a decade and a half that still has not subsided:
While violent crime in Cincinnati was falling prior to the riots and continued to fall nationally after, it rose very sharply in Cincinnati after the riots, peaking not much below the historic high before finally starting to drop around 2007-8. The rate remains above pre-riot levels in 1999 and 2000. No clue why 1997-8 data for Cincinnati is missing. Data comes from the US Department of Justice's UCR data.
Whether the spike in crime was due to the police strike or the riot itself is irrelevant--I certainly understand their frustrations, but at a time when police were most needed, they abandoned their posts. The Federalist argues that this is criminal:
"we’ve seen the type of escalating activity in the city which would be more recognizable as the preview to a messy Latin American coup d’etat. The latest is a form of purposeful sabotage on the part of the NYPD, which is now actively shirking its duty to enforce the law. ...Mayor de Blasio should’ve responded to the backs turning by firing people immediately. The NYPD needed to be reminded that chain of command exists, and that they are not at the top of it. Instead, what New York City is experiencing now amounts to nothing less than open rebellion by the lone armed force under the worst kind of weakened junta, one led by a figure ideologically radical and personally weak, who has lost control of his bureaucracies and may soon be devoured by them."
I don't use the term "criminal" metaphorically: New York law, same as Ohio law, prohibits police strikes and prescribes disciplinary action against those who do.