Friday, January 2, 2015

How Low Income New Yorkers Are Benefiting From The NYPD’s Work Stoppage

Kira Lerner and Igor Volsky write:
In response to growing tensions between the New York Police Department and the city, police unions encouraged officers last week to not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary,” resulting in a 66 percent drop from the same period last year. While the protests have drawn scrutiny for “squandering the department’s credibility” and leaving the city’s streets virtually unattended, they have also had the unintended effect of benefitting New York’s low income residents who are usually the target of the city’s tough-on-crime practices....
The signs of tension first became apparent when some police officers turned their backs to de Blasio when he spoke in the hospital following the assassinations and then engaged in a mass back-turning when the mayor spoke at the funeral of Officer Rafael Ramos. Last week, the police went a step further and stopped arresting New Yorkers for small crimes or ticketing people for minor offenses like parking violations, carrying open containers of alcohol or public urination.
As a result of what the New York Post is calling a “virtual work stoppage,” tickets and summonses for minor offenses have plummeted by 94 percent and overall arrests have fallen 66 percent. Theoretically, the practice will strain police budgets, which rely on fines from tickets to make-up for funding shortfalls. ​
Although it’s not the intended goal of the work stoppage, the decline in arrests could save New Yorkers money. The city residents who are normally hit with tickets for minor violations tend to be low income individuals who are forced to pay up a hefty portion of their paychecks...And New Yorkers of all income levels are also saving money on one of the most consistent ways the city can slam people with tickets— parking violations are down by 92 percent, from 14,699 to just 1,241....

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