It's been a good week to be a lazy car-parker in New York City. The police precinct that patrols Coney Island didn't hand out a single parking or traffic ticket in the week ending Sunday; in fact, those tickets were down 93% and 92% citywide, respectively, over the same period a year prior. The New York Times reports it's the second week in which city cops have eased way up on tickets and arrests (they were down 56% year-over-year last week), and it sees the sagging numbers as highlighting the schism between the NYPD and two of the people to which it answers: Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. Bratton yesterday vowed to look "sector car by sector car, officer by officer" at the drop. He also speculated on various causes: fewer 911 calls, the holidays, and the period of mourning that followed the deaths of officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.
"We may see that things begin to return to normal on their own volition," said Bratton. So is this an organized effort or, as police union leaders imply, perhaps just the result of officers putting their own safety first? (The head of the union for police traffic agents notes, "Our guys, we don't have guns.") The Times' take: "The sustained declines suggest something of a coordinated effort, even if it was not sanctioned by union leaders." The Atlantic last week looked at the "immense ... human implications" of fewer arrests. In part: "Fewer arrests for minor crimes logically means fewer people behind bars for minor crimes. Poorer would-be defendants benefit the most; three-quarters of those sitting in New York jails are only there because they can't afford bail." Crime, incidentally, was down in NYC during the first week, but slightly up the second.