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Why after the NYC subway assault, extra police is not the reply

Last week, tragedy struck New York City within the type of a gun-wielding man opening fireplace on commuters on a subway automotive because it pulled into the thirty sixth Street station in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood. Within hours, New York City Mayor Eric Adams stated he would double the variety of transit officers patrolling town’s subway system and introduced a brand new curiosity in deploying gun-detecting expertise that passengers would stroll by way of to make their trains. 

The capturing comes on the heels of Adams breaking transit police data by deploying an additional 1,000 officers in January

The capturing comes on the heels of Adams breaking transit police data by deploying an additional 1,000 officers in January — which in flip got here lower than a yr after former Mayor Bill De Blasio broke the earlier report by overseeing round 3,250 transit law enforcement officials within the subway. Under Adams’ quick time in workplace, arrests within the transit system have elevated 64 p.c since final yr, and 350 of these arrests have been for the misdemeanor of fare evasion, based on the New York Police Department. 

Since his marketing campaign, and particularly after taking workplace, Adams, a former NYPD officer, has vowed to exponentially ramp up the variety of police on the subway system. “Omnipresence is the key,” he stated in January. “People feel the system is not safe because they don’t see officers.” But what’s omnipresence? When will or not it’s reached? With an additional 1,000 officers not too long ago deployed, which nonetheless has apparently not resulted in security for commuters, how far more particular person energy and cash will it take? Or to place it one other method: How huge does the policing venture need to turn out to be earlier than we admit that it doesn’t work as politicians assume it does? When can we cease throwing good cash after dangerous? 


According to town’s web site, the NYPD has round 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian workers and has a proposed price range of greater than $10 billion, which makes it bigger and higher funded than many nation’s militaries. The metropolis controls over 25,500 cameras — concentrated largely in Black communities and different neighborhoods of coloration — and wields a number of the most superior surveillance expertise on this planet with little to no oversight from voters.

And but, with each act of violence dedicated within the metropolis, residents are being advised to present increasingly more metropolis assets to an all-consuming equipment that, regardless of what number of occasions you double its price range, nonetheless has didn’t yield security for everybody. Worse than not all the time stopping violence, it is usually a system that routinely creates hurt in lots of, particularly Black, New York communities. The NYPD spends tons of of hundreds of thousands of {dollars} a yr paying settlements for fits introduced in opposition to officers. 

The drawback is that police have come to be completely synonymous with security for a lot of politicians. For essentially the most half, it’s as a result of extra officers or surveillance appears to be the one resolution politicians are in a position to supply when individuals are afraid. There have even been occasions when police have admitted new applied sciences don’t work or aren’t efficient. And but, billions proceed to be funneled into police departments.

Amid public cries of “help!” just one response is obtainable. Decision-makers are unwilling or unable to interrupt from the custom of fixing each drawback by ramping up policing due to political pursuits, financial priorities, racial animus or, simply as dangerous, as a result of voters have been advised for therefore lengthy that policing is the one instrument within the toolbox for addressing their fears. The first step is to confess that, when folks ask for security, what they envision isn’t extra police, it’s secure walks and commutes, and there could also be different methods of attending to that objective that we’re not, as a society, investing in. 

Adams stated in February, “I’m not going to do anything that’s going to get in the way of keeping New Yorkers safe,” nevertheless it’s essential to ask: Does there ever come a time when siphoning cash from different important packages like housing, psychological well being and group intervention packages, to proceed to pump limitless funds into police departments turn out to be the factor that’s getting in the best way of security? When will we be allowed to place our eggs into a couple of basket? 

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