Well, that didn’t take long. For those wondering what would happen in New York City in the wake of the multi-front attack on the NYPD’s “stop-and-frisk” tactics, the wait is over. And the results are unsurprising to anyone who knows the first thing about police work. With police officers now discouraged or even prohibited from seeking out and arresting predatory armed criminals, more people are being shot. Who could have imagined it?
The New York Post reported Tuesday that the number of shooting victims across the city increased by 43 percent last month when compared to the same period last year. Overall this year, shootings are up by 13 percent while gun seizures by police are down by 10 percent. Not to worry, says Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, who points out that murders in the city are still down.
The fact that more people are being shot but fewer of them are dying is more of a testament to the state of emergency medicine in New York than to anything Bratton might be doing. Those two lines on the graph cannot diverge for long, and with the police effectively neutered, the criminal class surely will take advantage.
I can cite a similar turn of events in my own experience with the Los Angeles Police Department. The high-water mark for murders in Los Angeles came in 1992, when 1,092 people were killed across the city. That number gradually fell until a sudden uptick in 2000, after then-LAPD Chief Bernard Parks responded to a police scandal at a single police station by disbanding the anti-gang units city-wide and instituting a disciplinary system that discouraged proactive policing. Murders in L.A. increased for three years until Parks was let go and replaced with, oddly enough, Bill Bratton. With Bratton in charge and the LAPD reinvigorated, crime in the city resumed the downward trend that continues to this day.
Does Bratton have anything in his bag of tricks that will bring these shooting statistics back in line? We’ll see. Four hundred and seventy-one people have been shot (pdf) so far this year in New York City, but at least people aren’t having their feelings hurt by being profiled.
— “Jack Dunphy” is the pseudonym of a police officer in Southern California.