PROP report on the cost of Broken Windows in 2014: over one million dollars a day to New Yorkers

Our latest report, titled Over $1 Million A Day, is an analysis and summary of NYPD arrest statistics in 2014 and the true cost of policing quotas and Broken Windows to New Yorkers.

Download the report as a PDF.

By analyzing and comparing statistics from the NYPD we reached the following figures, which show that for the first nine months of 2014 the NYPD makes:

  • an average of 648 misdemeanor arrests per day at a daily cost to the city of $1,134,000.
  • an average of 4,536 misdemeanor arrests per week at a weekly cost to the city of $7,938,000.
  • an average of 19,425 misdemeanor arrests per month at a monthly cost of $33,993,750.

For the first nine months of 2014, under the governance of Bill de Blasio and William Bratton, the NYPD has continued the same focus held by the Bloomberg and Kelly administration on arrests for misdemeanors and other low-level infractions. Over 70% of the NYPD’s adult arrests are for misdemeanors. From January through to September 2013, the NYPD made 173,625 misdemeanor arrests. During 2014’s same nine month period, the NYPD made 174,823 misdemeanor arrests.

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 86.2%.

For some arrest categories, the racial bias is even more disproportionate.

For example, the percentage of misdemeanor marijuana arrests involving people of color in 2013 was 89.9% and in 2014 stood at 90.4%. The percentage of misdemeanor trespass arrests involving people of color in 2013 was 89.1% and in 2014 stood at 89.4%. The percentage of theft of service misdemeanor arrests – usually applied to fare-beating infractions – involving people of color in 2013 was 91.2% which dropped slightly in 2014 to 88.4%.

The NYPD’s arrest practices for more serious offenses also reveal a stark racial bias. In 2013, the percentage of people charged with felonies who are black was 49.8%. In 2014, the percentage of felony arrestees who are black rose to 51.2%.

The NYPD’s Broken Windows tactics mean that every day the police charge, confine, and criminalize hundreds of people of color for minor infractions. At a million dollars or more per day, these practices result in a significant waste of resources that would be better spent on collaborative, neighborhood-based law enforcement programs and social services that address the social and economic problems that drive unlawful behavior.

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  1. Pingback: The NYPD Slowdown Is Working, Let's Keep It: Gothamist

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