NYPD Blues

I have some thoughts. You may read them.

Anything that gets rid of regressive, backdoor taxation is going to get serious consideration by me. Elected officials should have the backbone to tell the public what things cost, and demand payment in the form of direct taxation. Funding a city on the backs of its poorest residents through citations is immoral.

The NYPD cannot strike as a practical matter. They last went on strike in the 1970s. Under the current NY civil service law, they lose two days pay for every one day they strike. They’re effectively a neutered union.

There’s a difference between policing for Broken Windows (“BW”) purposes and otherwise policing the same behaviors. BW assumes the minor infraction will lead to a more serious offense. It is a still-unproven connection, but, when done properly, has the benefit of stopping the minor offenses: the petty thefts, the public intoxication, the public urination. Even the minor drug sales.

What this is giving us is actual, street-level data on what happens when you stop BW policing and move to whatever this is. I’m tempted to call it Crisis Policing. Reasonable minds will differ on whether the reduced crime stats are due to doubled-up patrols or not. Time will tell if we see an increase in more serious crime.

There’s a school of thought that also says the BW implementation over the past 30 years coincided with another change: the move to unleaded gasoline. Tetraethyllead has some fascinating effects: See: America’s Real Criminal Element: Lead.

[ob/conservatives: Ignore that this is Mother Jones. The author, Kevin Drum, is hardly a bleeding-heart liberal. The science is solid, and the implications are stunning. Short version: BW policing fixed a problem that was already fixing itself. We didn’t know it at the time, but we know it now.]

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