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Don't Let the 'Ferguson Effect' Take Root in New York City

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Don't Let the 'Ferguson Effect' Take Root in New York City

New York Post October 3, 2017
Urban PolicyNYCCrime

The following is an editorial from the New York Post editorial board

Writer Heather Mac Donald often warns of the Ferguson Effect: cops turning passive to avoid being sued or disciplined. Now officers say it’s happening in the South Bronx.

Cops in the 42nd tell of, for example, opting not to bust suspected drug dealers who were taunting and filming them.

As The Post’s Shawn Cohen and Bruce Golding reported Monday, cops in the NYPD’s crime-infested 42nd Precinct are taking a hands-off approach to the way they do their jobs, even as crime rates head up.

“I try to minimize incidents where I can get in trouble,” one precinct cop admitted. “It’s career preservation.” Another said it’s not just a few cops doing that but “everybody” in the precinct.

NYPD brass say there’s little evidence such attitudes are widespread in the 42nd or elsewhere. And crime is still way below ’90s levels in the precinct — though shootings there are up 64 percent so far this year, while they’re down 23 percent citywide.

Cops in the 42nd tell of, for example, opting not to bust suspected drug dealers who were taunting and filming them.

As Mac Donald wrote in The Post last week, nationwide some cops are “just driving by” suspicious activity after being “told incessantly by politicians, the media and Black Lives Matter activists that they are bigoted” for questioning suspects.

She cites a January poll that found 72 percent of cops less willing to stop people, due to the “persistent anti-cop climate.”

Meanwhile, the city Civilian Complaint Review Board’s “substantiated allegations” against officers went from 463 cops in 2013 (Mike Bloomberg’s last year as mayor) to 773 in 2015 and 515 last year. One cop says Bronx DA Darcel Clark “has made it open season on officers” in the 42nd.

Mac Donald says the problem hits black residents hardest: “When officers back off of proactive policing,” she notes, “thousands of law-abiding residents of high crime areas” pay the price. That’s not something the NYPD can tolerate.

This editorial originally appeared in the New York Post

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