NYPD on “Strike” and Everybody Is Better Off

The NYPD Officer Union has called for a semi-limited “virtual work stoppage” to punish Mayor DeBlasio and other people who, according to the NYPD, haven’t been faithful or loyal enough to the cause of police officers. The result has been that most people would be just fine with an indefinite virtual work stoppage.

Basically, the NYPD Union called for an end to making any but the most “absolutely necessary” arrests. It was basically a “see how you like it when we’re not around” tactic. It backfired. Turns out people like it just fine when the NYPD doesn’t enforce tyrannical laws concerning non-violent “crimes.”

In the wake of the virtual work stoppage, there were a few articles predicting a possible crime wave and a bunch of other nonsense. That near apocalypse has not occurred. Instead, the poor people who were most likely to be hurt by police over-reach and law-abiding citizens normally preyed on by lie-in-wait police tactics are both being left alone.

And this outcome not only undercuts the reigning philosophy concerning the ubiquitous place and use of law enforcement in civilized society, it also calls into question the particular reigning enforcement philosophy of the NYPD, called “broken-windows” policing:

The slowdown also challenges the fundamental tenets of broken-windows policing, a controversial strategy championed by NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton. According to the theory, which first came to prominence in a 1982 article in The Atlantic, “quality-of-life” crimes like vandalism and vagrancy help normalize criminal behavior in neighborhoods and precede more violent offenses. Tackling these low-level offenses therefore helps prevent future ones. The theory’s critics dispute its effectiveness and contend that broken-windows policing simply criminalizes the young, the poor, and the homeless.

At the end of the day, this situation with the NYPD has uncovered what lovers of freedom and liberty have long held to be true. An excess of law enforcement creates more problems than it solves. Charging police officers to make arrests only when absolutely necessary should not be a short-term policy to sway public policy. It should be public policy.