Arrests by the New York Police Department dropped sharply for the second week in a row, the New York Times reported Monday.
Arrests have dropped by 54% compared to the same period last year, while parking and traffic tickets have declined by more than 90%. 347 criminal summonses were written across the city this week, compared with 4,077 in the same week a year ago, the Times reported.
Summonses for minor crimes like public drinking and urination declined by 91%, from 4,077 to 347, according to the New York Post.
The drop in police activity has occurred across all 77 precincts and began shortly after two NYPD officers were murdered on Dec. 20. Arrests plummeted 66% in the first week after the shootings, the New York Post reported, as officers felt “betrayed” by the mayor and feared for their own safety.
A scathing New York Times editorial released shortly afterward noted the trend, calling the “virtual work stoppage” a “tantrum” and calling on the officers to “do their jobs.”
Shortly after the statistics were released, New York City police denied staging an organised slowdown, attributing the decline in arrests to a mourning period after the officers’ murders. The fact that the decline has continued, however, suggests a more sustained trend.
The NYPD itself has not commented on whether it believes the officers are acting together to stop arresting people. But in the midst of reports that cop killings in the US increased by 56% last year, police union leaders have been urging officers to put their own safety first by responding to calls in pairs and making arrests only when necessary, the New York Post reported.
This prompted The Atlantic to question how many unnecessary arrests the NYPD was making beforehand, noting that fewer arrests might actually be a good thing.
Despite the decline in enforcement, crime is still down — for now.
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