On Martin Luther King Day, an increase in Broken Windows policing by NYPD


For the week ending Sunday, the New York Police Department issued more than doubled the number of "Broken Windows" summonses than the week before, resuming the controversial practise by the NYPD of focusing its resources on fighting very low-level infractions, an approach to policing that has been resoundingly critisised by police reform activists.

As of January 18, the NYPD wrote 3,283 summonses for Broken Windows infractions for very petty offenses, such as loitering, according to a report in The New York Times.  In the week before, the NYPD had written 1,484 summonses, representing a 121 per cent. week-on-week increase. 

Broken Windows policing has been emerging as a polarising and controversial policing approach ever since the chokehold homicide of Eric Garner occurred after a summer offensive against "Broken Windows" offenses.  

After a federal judge ruled in 2013 in a class action lawsuit that another NYPD policing tactic, referred to as stop-and-friskviolated the constitutional rights of minority New Yorkers, police reform activists have been pressuring the NYPD to end race-based tactics.  In the time since that federal class action lawsuit, several police reform groups have called for an end of Broken Windows policing over its neoconservative roots and the racial disparities in how the NYPD targets low-income and minority communities.

In respect of the increase in Broken Windows arrests, City Hall press officials did not answer requests to comment.

Earlier Monday, Mayor Bill de Blasio (D-New York City) appeared with the Rev. Al Sharpton to deliver a speech at the National Action Network to commemorate the legacy of the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Following Mr. Garner's chokehold homicide, Mayor de Blasio has steadfastly defended Broken Windows policing, in spite of complaints that it is discriminatory.  NYPD Commissioner William Bratton has been one of the most vocal supporters of Broken Windows policing, placing City Hall and the NYPD at odds with police reform activists.

At Commissioner Bratton's urging and with Mayor de Blasio's support, NYPD are increasingly making greater number of arrests and the issuance of summonses following a work slowdown after tension erupted between City Hall and rank and file police officers after two officers were killed in an unprovoked attack in Brooklyn.