Image source: Newsweek.
Press Relase, issued November 4, 2015.
Based on data received from the NYS Division of Criminal Justice Services, PROP released these principal findings regarding NYPD arrest statistics for the first nine months of 2015:
1/ 2015 arrest data — January-September — show that the NYPD continues the biased and unjust practice of targeting low-income people of color for minor infractions.
2/ PROP finds that in 2015, 87% of NYPD misdemeanor arrests have involved people of color, compared to 86% in the first nine months of 2014 and 86.7% in 2013.
3/ Some arrest categories in 2015 involve over 90% people of color: theft of services (usually farebeating): 91.5%; marijuana possession and sale: 92.5%; and, trespass: 90.5%.
4/ Misdemeanor Arrests Make Up the Large Bulk of the NYPD’s Arrests, consisting of 69% of the Arrests Made
5/ The NYPD made 147,487 misdemeanor arrests from January to September of this year, averaging 546/day, 4,097/week, and 16,387/month.
6/ Though misdemeanor arrests dropped by 15.6% when comparing the first nine months of 2015 with last year, the financial costs are still prohibitive. For example, using the conservative estimate that one misdemeanor arrest costs the City $1750., the expense per day for NYPD misdemeanor arrest practices comes to approximately $960,000.
“Of particular note”, said Robert Gangi, PROP director, “are the two arrest categories of theft of services or farebeating and marijuana possession and sale. The NYPD has made 21,905 theft of service arrests so far this year — the second highest number of misdemeanor arrests, and about 91.5% have involved people of color. Many if not most of these arrests occur when officers hide in places on the subway platforms outside people’s line of vision and emerge when someone tries to sneak onto the train. A much more effective, and less expensive, way to curtail farebeating would be to post one officer in front of the turnstiles. Few if any persons would then attempt to beat the fare, but the NYPD seems less interested in being effective in this instance than in accumulating a lot of arrests especially of New Yorkers of color.
“Also interesting are the number of marijuana arrests. Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton garnered press coverage when they announced a policy of reducing the sanctions for marijuana related offenses. While the numbers in the category have dropped, the NYPD did make over 16,000 arrests so far this year for marijuana possession or sale, 92.5% involving New Yorkers of color. While perhaps not intentional, but certainly in effect, the NYPD’s harassment and targeting of people of color continues unabated.”