“A Virtual Work Stoppage”

Andrew Sullivan —  Dec 30 2014 @ 12:29pm

The New York Post reports that “NYPD traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety”:

[O]verall arrests [are] down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show. Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame. Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300. Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.

The Post obtained the numbers hours after revealing that cops were turning a blind eye to some minor crimes and making arrests only “when they have to” since the execution-style shootings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.

Scott Shackford snarks:

Well, we can only hope the NYPD unions and de Blasio settle their differences soon so that the police can go back to arresting people for reasons other than “when they have to.”

The NYPD’s failure to arrest and cite people will also end up costing the city huge amounts of money that it won’t be able to seize from its citizens, which is likely the real point. That’s the “punishment” for the de Blasio administration for not supporting them. One has to wonder if they even understand, or care, that their “work stoppage” is giving police state critics exactly what they want—less harsh enforcement of the city’s laws.

No doubt police are hoping that citizens will be furious when police don’t do anything about the hobo pissing on the wall in the alley or won’t make the guy in apartment 3b turn down the racket at four in the morning. And they’re probably right to a certain degree. But if they think the city is going to turn into sheer anarchy over the failure to enforce petty regulations, they’re probably going to be disappointed.

Update from a reader:

Nice to see the NYPD are not responding like petty, petulant, spoiled children and have instead taken up a constructive debate over their grievances with the mayor. It would be sad to think that they were so thin skinned as to compromise the integrity of their positions because their soft, touchy-feely side was bruised when the mayor expressed how he cautioned his child in dealing with the police.

Another piles one:

It’s anecdotal, but we went away for Christmas and left the car on the street. At $45, one street-cleaning ticket is cheaper by far than putting it in a garage. Then I changed my return, putting us in line for two tickets. I got back yesterday anticipating a $90 bill—and found nothing on the windshield. Suspecting the wind might have blown the tickets away, I checked online. Zip.

I’m selfishly pleased by that. But if this horseshit “wartime footing” stance by the NYPD union extends even to traffic cops, then the life-and-limb ramifications of minimal law enforcement are appalling. The NYPD is using New York citizens – its bosses, its responsibility, and the folks who pays its salaries – as the ante in its poker match with the mayor. In the past, I’d have expected the citizenry to pretty quickly side with the cops, be it simply out of self-interest. But I think this time the NYPD may have made a bad bet. One of their men killed a man and walked. Then, when even gently criticized, they took the city hostage rather than eat a bite of crow, or even swallow a bite of pride. This time may be different, and I very much hope it will be.