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Life In New York City: Special Issue

January 11, 2015
Plain English Version

No Crime in New York City?

New York Times

New York Times

The feud between the Mayor of New York City and the police is changing life in the city. The police have reduced sharply the number of people they are arresting and the number of citations they are giving out.

The dispute with the police goes back to the deaths of Michael Brown, and Eric Garner at the hands of the police. The police officers in both cases were not charged by the grand juries. Demonstrations followed in Ferguson, Missouri and New York City.

NYC police and their unions felt city Mayor Bill de Blasio did not defend and support them. Instead, they said, he sided with the protestors who charged police brutality. When two NYC police officers were killed at point-blank range, the police rebelled.

The police said the protests led to the murders. The mayor said he supported the police. But clearly, there was much mistrust between the parties.

The police started making much fewer than the normal daily number of arrests. Most such arrests and citations are for quality of life crimes such as littering, fare beating, vagrancy, public drinking, prostitution, or riding a bike on the sidewalk.

In turn, New York City’s very busy courts are seeing nowhere near the usual number of cases. Even night court in Manhattan shut down early last week. Public defenders are catching up on their work. Judges are yawning.

The change is clear in the last few weeks. Arrests for misdemeanors have fallen about 60 percent. The drop was even bigger for people arrested for violations such as disorderly conduct. There was a 91 percent decline in such arrests.

One lawyer said, “The cops say, ‘We are going to stop making arrests, unless we absolutely have to.’”

Most observers expect life to go back to normal. Eventually.

Source: The New York Times January 7, 2015

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