The police in New York city are upset that their boss (the Mayor) said that he warned his black son about racism that he may encounter when dealing with police. They are having a “work stoppage” where they vow only to arrest “when they have to.”
Let’s pause there for a minute. “When they have to” clearly means that previously, they had been arresting people who didn’t have to be arrested — People who could have been given a warning or perhaps not even stopped and searched in the first place.
And what has been the result of this work stoppage? Well, nothing really, although if you live in East New York (which is predominately black) you probably aren’t getting arrested for smoking a joint and now you’re on the same level as Park Slope (which is predominately white), which saw 13 marijuana arrests last year as opposed to over 500 in East New York. And no, it’s not because the yuppies and hipsters who live in Park Slope smoke 500% less marijuana.
People who got arrested for dancing in the subway has gone down from over 240 to zero, and so far, we have not had an overrun of spontaneous dance break-outs disrupting rush hour.
New York’s famous “Broken Windows” policy held that the police needed to enforce and punish even the smallest infraction because it helped to prevent the bigger crimes. This is the policy that led to illegal random searches of young black and hispanic men and made some police think it was perfectly fine to take someone who illegally sold individual cigarettes and strangle them. Treating every person who littered as if they were major criminals only made the average citizen in New York fear and distrust their police force — the exact opposite of what we should think of when we consider the police.
Did crime drop once the “Broken Windows” policy went into effect? Yep. Just like it dropped in every other city that didn’t have that same policy. Studies have found no correlation between the two. And now, with the police force refusing to make arrests for “Broken Windows” crimes, and it having no apparent change to the city, we have even more evidence that it doesn’t work.
So thanks, police! You’ve made some sociologists very happy by confirming their data.