A new report from DNAinfo confirms an upsetting, but unsurprising truth–that arrests of New Yorkers are at an all-time high under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The numbers began climbing almost immediately after Bloomberg took office and Ray Kelly became Police Comissioner–from 334,163 in 2003 to 351,435 in 2004–then climbed to an all-time high of 422,982 in 2010.
A huge number of the arrests the department makes are for relatively minor offenses. Only nine percent of 2011’s arrests were for murder, rape, robbery, assault, grand larceny, or auto theft. That’s less than the number of pot possession busts that year, which accounted for 10 percent of the numbers.
“Day after day, people are stuffed into our holding cells for days at a time and then go to court and the prosecutors or judges look at the case and say it is not worth pursuing,” an anonymous court official told the website, complaining of the department’s “zero tolerance” policy which urges police to make arrests whenever they see a law being broken, with no exceptions. “There are thousands of cases that would not be here if the cops could use their own judgment like they used to in the past.”
(Photo: Center for American Progress/Flickr)