Adding more cops to a militarized department based in racist Broken Windows policing will only add more fuel to the fire. The NYPD is by far the largest police force in America. It also has one of the highest national police to citizen ratios. Increasing an already massive police force does not make us safer and only guarantees even more Broken Windows-based policing by cops operating more and more like counter-terrorism troops.
What does 'public safety' mean? According to a PROP study the NYPD already costs us $1 Million a day from low-level arrests. The (known) NYPD budget has grown to over $4.7 Billion for FY 2015. We need to talk about community safety in a nuanced way that acknowledges how law enforcement is actually seen by our communities.
We don’t need more cops. We want strong communities.
Communities of color are being systematically over-policed while also being displaced by rising rent and gentrification. We must repair the damage of mass criminalization and help people return to their communities instead of squandering resources. Resources that help our communities thrive, lift our social net and also lower core drivers of crime are key and we demand the City Council invest the $97 million annual dollars proposed for 1,000 new cops instead towards those solutions instead. Our taxpayer dollars should be invested in some of the following examples:
Rikers Island Prison holds as many people with mental health needs as all the psychiatric hospitals in New York State.
20-25% of homeless single adults have severe or persistent mental health needs.
Mental health supports successfully address violence, drug use, and depression.
NYPD funds could hire over 2000 social workers or over 2000 special education teachers.
100,000 New Yorkers are arrested for not paying fares annually.
24,000 misdemeanor fare-evasion arrests in the subway in 2013 cost $42 million.
Funds could provide 62,500 low-income New Yorkers with free train and bus access.
Public transportation helps working class communities maintain distant jobs.
Youth Jobs Programming
New York’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) only employs 22% of its 132,593 applicants.
A Chicago jobs program employed students at a cost of only $3,000 per student.
Chicago program resulted in a 51% drop in violent crime arrests.
Social benefits of reduced crime were estimated at $1,700 per student.
A similar NYC program using police funding could potentially employ 310,000 youth.
Funds could increase resident associations by $281,437 in all 334 NYCHA buildings.
Educational programming and workforce development for adults and youth.
Support resident watch programs with appropriate cameras and lighting.