The Cost of Broken-Windows Policing

New York City’s Police Department Spends Over $410 Million Per Year On Discredited Policy of Misdemeanor Arrests.

de Blasio / Bratton Administration Continue Biased Arrests Practices of the Bloomberg / Kelly Tenure.

Petty Charges Against People of Color Dominate the Numbers

Our latest report, Over $410 Million A Year, analyzes NYPD arrest statistics and NYC court disposition data.

We reached the following conclusions (and more):

  • For the first 8 months of 2014, at great expense in city dollars, de Blasio/Bratton’s NYPD has continued the same focus as the Bloomberg/Kelly administration on arrests for misdemeanors and other low-level infractions. From January through August, 2013, the NYPD made 155,831 misdemeanor arrests – nearly 20,000 per month. During 2014’s same 8-month period, the NYPD made 156,572 misdemeanor arrests, also nearly 20,000 per month.
  • A stark racial bias marks the NYPD’s petty arrest practices. In 2013, 87% of the individuals charged with misdemeanors were people of color; in 2014, the figure has been 86.3%.
  • For some arrest categories, the racial bias is even more disproportionate; for example, the percentage of misdemeanor trespass arrests involving people of color in 2013: 91.1%; in 2014: 90%; the percentage of theft of service misdemeanor arrests – “theft of service” usually applies to fare-beating infractions – involving people of color in 2013: 92.3%; in 2014: 90.5%.
  • At the conservative estimate of $1,750 per arrest, NYC will spend over $410 million in 2014 on arresting people, mostly low-income individuals of color, for misdemeanors and other minor infractions.
  • For the 5-year period from 2009 to 2013, an annual average of 90% of the people arrested for misdemeanors walked out of the courtroom.

“The ‘broken windows’ tactic of conducting large numbers of misdemeanor arrests that target low-income people of color and focus on low-level infractions results in substantial waste of city resource […] it is also counterproductive in that it does nothing to enhance public safety and leads to more antagonism toward and distrust of police officers. City leaders would be smart to divert these resources to support proven collaborative, community oriented law-enforcement programs and neighbor-based services that address the social and economic problems that drive lawless behavior.”

-Robert Gangi, PROP Director 

Download a copy of the report  (click image below)

$ report cover

Check out the press coverage of the report and other PROP related things here

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