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NYPD Slowdown May Be Ending


01.13.15 Prachi Gupta

Hope you had your fun in NYC’s streets while you could, because the NYPD slowdown may be coming to an end. On Monday, the NYPD released its most recent arrest and ticketing statistics, which revealed an uptick in activity. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who recently acknowledged the slowdown, said at a news conference, “We are pleased with the fact that the officers are beginning to re-engage again.”

In the week prior, summonses and tickets were down by more than 90 percent from that period in 2014, and arrests were cut by about half. The New York Times has the most recent stats:

In the week ending on Sunday, 5,550 parking summonses were written, up from 1,191 written the week before. During the same week in 2014, there were more than 21,000 parking summonses. Most are issued by the department’s civilian traffic agents, not its sworn officers.

Notably, arrests for felony crimes were closer to usual levels, with 789 made through Sunday compared with 928 for the same period last year.

Police activity is still lower than it was this time last year, but Bratton expects this week’s uptick to continue. “We are still concerned with the levels of activity, but they are returning to normal,” he said. “With each passing day, each passing week, those numbers are going back to what we would describe as normal levels.”

While the Times (and most outlets) attributes the “sharp drop” in activity to the shooting of two NYPD detectives on Dec. 20, the Daily News reports that New York has been witnessing a slowdown for a significantly longer time:

But the amount of low-level policing was dramatically declining well before the killing of the two cops, a precinct-by-precinct analysis of NYPD data by the Daily News revealed.

The News examined select crime complaints, arrests and summonses for all 77 precincts since Dec. 1.

The number of criminal court summonses issued had already plunged at least 75% in nearly two dozen precincts scattered about the city during the week of Dec. 15 through 21 when compared with the same week the year before.

Ramos and Liu were killed on Dec. 20, near the very end of that reporting period.

But the citywide drop in arrests and summonses was already afoot, falling by 55% during the week of Dec. 1 through 7 compared with the same period the prior year. It was during that week, on Dec. 3, that a Staten Island grand jury declined to indict the cop who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold, triggering waves of massive but mostly peaceful protests that engulfed the city.

The following week also saw significant, but smaller, declines in parking tickets, Criminal Court summonses and arrests compared with the same week in 2014.

From Dec. 8 through Dec. 14, the number of Criminal Court summonses declined 37% when compared to the previous year, while parking tickets fell 34% and arrests fell 20%.

The Daily News suggests that the decline may have been due to the NYPD’s around-the-clock coverage of Eric Garner protests. During the conference, Bratton said, “We had a lot of very tired cops . . . who were out every night, night after night, on demonstrations. That wears on you.”

(Photo: Gerard Donnelly)