Current and former members of the NYPD told DNAinfo that the police force is still using the same tactics it employed in the high crime days of the early 1990s, despite the fact that crime has drastically reduced, and that the city is a far different place. The sources say that many of the department’s troubles are related to its inability to adapt to a landscape that doesn’t require such an aggressive approach. Here’s just one statistical example:
In 1993, there were 126 homicides and 10,355 felonies overall in the 75th Precinct (East New York). Last year, 18 murders and just 3,789 felonies were reported there. Serious crime is down [in East New York] this year by another 2.5 percent. By comparison, the Upper East Side’s 19th Precinct recorded five murders and 11,976 felonies two decades ago. That’s roughly three times the number of today’s East New York.
Citywide crime is down 4.1 percent this year and the total number of murders is around 320, which is another record low.
The officers DNAinfo spoke with believe that incidents like the death of Akai Gurley, an unarmed man shot in the hallway of a public housing building by a rookie cop, could be prevented if the NYPD began policing in a way that was more appropriate for the city we live in today. One former police strategist says:
Even if these projects still need a form of vertical patrols, you can’t send two rookies into a hallway, guns drawn. Someone is going to get hurt.
Following the death of Eric Garner by a cop using a prohibited chokehold, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said that he will implement extensive retraining. The plan is expected to be announced “soon.” The new Deputy Commissioner, Michael Julian, thinks the most important thing is to get cops to stop using curse words. Okay.