CHICAGO, IL — July 21, 2020 — New York cutting its police budget (90% personnel costs) by 1/6 harkens me to the 70s when a no longer bridgeable budget gap forced laying off 1/3 of officers.
To bolster police presence on the street back then, anti-crime units were ordered to patrol in uniform. Our local guys patrolled in the same unmarked cars, but sitting low, hoping their uniforms wouldn’t show. Today, the City wants to disband these units all together. One of the theories behind these units is that 10% of the cops make 90% of the felony arrests – so it’s best to have the “super cops” work together, Starsky & Hutch style.
My small contribution to the lawlessness of the late 70s … I was a Bronx car service and gypsy cab driver by then – and I would treat steady red lights like blinking red lights: stop, look both ways for a police car and go. It got to be a disease. I guessed at the time that assignments used up most of the patrol cars, leaving few for patrolling.
Along came the 00s – police rolls and crime had gone up and down to normal levels respectively — crime by some measures down 3X since 70s. And along came a mayor who thought it a good time to multiply police street stops 7X. 7 X 3 = 21 X as many stops per reported crime – mostly all dumped on minorities. Residents of once crime ridden neighborhoods could stop looking over their shoulders for bad guys and start looking over their other shoulders for cops. (Same mayor chipped in a billion dollars-plus on superfluous courthouses in The Bronx and Brooklyn.)
Today, reducing cops to reduce cop abuse strikes me a little bit like cutting back on doctors to reduce malpractice. Problem: the more you cut down on cops, the more that criminals up abuse. Follow up problem: it’s hard to make police behave in war zones — so, you cut down on cops; criminals commit more crimes; and cops come on worse again.
The only way to make minority – and everyone else’s — lives safe from cops and anybody else – is to get everyone on the same economic level. That’s just human nature. Here’s the one — and only way — to there from here:
Had Obama “woke” to federally ordered cert /recert /decert votes in his time, Hillary would be running for re-election today.
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Denis Drew is now a resident of Chicago, Illinois.