Posts Tagged ‘New York’

2021 crime statistics a mess

June 13, 2022

2021 was the first year that the FBI required that crime data submitted by state and local agencies be in NIBRS format (National Incident Based Reporting System) instead of the old aggregate-style Uniform Crime Reports (UCR). NIBRS was launched back in 1988, and in 2015 the FBI announced the 2021 deadline. Unfortunately, 35% of U.S. law enforcement agencies missed the deadline, as reported here, including NYPD and LAPD and most agencies in populous California, New York, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Florida. As a result, “The data gap will make it harder to analyze crime trends and fact-check claims politicians make about crime, and we’ll likely have to live with greater uncertainty for at least a couple of years.”

Fallout from 2020 protests

April 5, 2022

A federal jury in Denver has awarded $14 million to 12 protesters who were “hit with pepper balls and a bag filled with lead” during post-George Floyd protests in 2020, as reported here. According to the Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse, there are at least 29 other similar lawsuits pending, including ones in New York, Washington, and Rochester. Meanwhile, last month 19 Austin PD officers were indicted on two counts each of aggravated assault resulting in injuries to 11 protesters in May 2020, mainly from beanbag rounds, as reported here. One use-of-force expert cites the relative lack of training for police on handling protests, noting “it would be prohibitively expensive to have officers practice deploying equipment” such as rubber bullets, pepper balls, bean bag rounds, and gas cannisters.

Police departments lowering education requirements

March 25, 2022

Several police departments have stopped requiring some college as a minimum standard in the hiring process. This article focuses on Chicago, which had required 60 college credits. Officials there and elsewhere point to the downturn in applicants as the main justification. Chicago will now “waive a college credit requirement for recruits who have two years of military or peace officer experience, or three years in corrections, social services, health care, trades, or education.” Applications reportedly spiked as soon as the 60-credit mandate was relaxed. The article cites Philadelphia and New Orleans as two other police departments that have lowered their educational requirements, as well as New York’s mayor expressing interest in following suit.

Place-based policing & violent crime

March 14, 2022

Amid concerns about increases in violent crime, it is important to remember that “violence is highly concentrated in small sets of people and places,” and thus it makes sense to take a targeted approach to the problem. This column argues in particular for a strategy of place-based policing, an approach that doesn’t require “passing new legislation or adding enormous budget expenditures.” Examples of crime concentration from Boston, Minneapolis, and Oakland, California are cited, along with evidence of the effectiveness of problem-oriented and hot spot policing strategies.

Police reform plans in New York State

March 7, 2022

Legislation in NY State required every police agency to submit a “comprehensive, community-based reform plan” by April 2021. This article reports an analysis of the plans by a community partnership in one county. Scores for 14 agencies ranged from 0 to 25 out of a maximum 30, based on 10 criteria derived from goals specified in the state’s legislation. The community group’s report, including criteria descriptions and compliance examples, is available here.

Tracing guns involved in gun crime

November 9, 2021

Many cities have seen big increases in gun crime last year and this year. This article explains why tracing crime guns is so difficult and summarizes what’s known about the pathway of guns to crimes. The U.S. has about 100 million gun owners and 400 million guns, the vast majority of which are never involved in crime. But when a gun is involved in a crime, tracing its history can be nearly impossible, in part because only its original sale by a licensed dealer has to be reported. Subsequent private sales, swaps, and gun thefts are hardly ever documented. The article further explains the importance of straw purchases and the more recent phenomenon of ghost guns, which are assembled from purchased parts, lack serial numbers, and thus are effectively unregistered and untraceable. 

More on murders in 2020

November 1, 2021

CDC data indicate there was a 30% increase in U.S. murders in 2020, as reported here by the Pew Trust, consistent with UCR data published a few weeks ago. That one year increase was the largest since 1905, and possibly the biggest ever since reporting was less comprehensive 100+ years ago. Low-density states Montana and South Dakota had the sharpest increases at over 80%, but populous states spiked too, including New York (47%), Pennsylvania (39%), and California (36%). The proportion of murders involving firearms increased from 73% to 77%, while the clearance rate, according to FBI data, dropped from 61% to 54%. Despite the murder increase, the 2020 U.S. murder rate (7.8 per 100,000 people) remained well below the rates of suicide (13.5) and overdose (27.1). 

Police vaccinations lag behind public

September 29, 2021

In many jurisdictions, the proportion of police vaccinated against COVID-19 is lagging behind the rate for the general public. The shortfall among police is 20% in NY, 21% in LA, and 28% in San Diego, according to this article. Police in Denver have sued to block the city’s vaccination requirement, nearly 200 San Francisco police employees are seeking religious exemptions, and dozens of Massachusetts State Police troopers have resigned rather than get mandated vaccinations. Meanwhile, at mid-year for 2021, more U.S. officers had died from COVID than from firearms-related and traffic-related causes combined, as reported here

Violence interrupters or police?

September 6, 2021

Violence interrupters are currently being promoted as a strategy to reduce shootings and homicides. This article reviews the evidence on the effectiveness of interrupters — it’s weak and inconsistent. The strategy’s popularity is mainly due to two things — it is seen as an alternative to police by those who support #defunding, and the fact that it can be implemented quickly for (possible) immediate results, as contrasted with other long-term approaches that aim to address root causes. Of note, all the violence interrupter initiatives since the 1990s have been in addition to police, not in place of them. Upcoming debates are likely to land in the budget arena — how much to spend on interrupters, and how much of that should come from the police budget.

Whether to require police to get vaccinated

August 23, 2021

Lots of jurisdictions are considering whether to mandate Covid vaccinations for their employees, including police. Richmond, VA is requiring all employees to get shots by October 1, but police and firefighter employee associations are pushing for a pause, as reported here. The police union in Tucson is suing the city after it passed an ordinance requiring all employees to be vaccinated, as reported here. This article indicates that Denver has set a September 30 deadline for employee shots, while in New York the NYPD is promising strict enforcement of a mask mandate for officers who aren’t vaccinated. In New York, 68% of adults are vaccinated, but only 47% of NYPD officers.