NYPD: Please Continue Making Arrests Only “When We Have To”

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After having their colleague get away with murder, many in the NYPD have basically decided to stop working, alleging that mayor de Blasio isn’t doing enough to ensure their safety. Just as everyone would have predicted, Vladimir Putin has seen his opportunity and annexed Manhattan.

Kidding. But the police have indeed taken a nice little vacation from work. As a result:

  • Citations for traffic violations fell 94%
  • Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination are down 94%
  • Parking violations are down 92%
  • Drug-related offenses are down 84%
  • Arrests in general are down 66%

In other words, the “thin blue line” has been largely erased with respect to victimless “crimes”. And despite “law and order” conservatives’ #1 fear, I’ve yet to hear a single report about a drugged-up commie speeding in the wrong direction on a one way street while shooting heroin at our children.

So…what happened?

“The Post obtained the numbers hours after revealing that cops were turning a blind eye to some minor crimes and making arrests only “when they have to” since the execution-style shootings of Officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu.”

Note the key words: “when they have to”. There is so much meaning to extract from this phrase, but somehow I get the feeling that most Americans will not quite grasp the significance.

If the NYPD is currently only making arrests “when they have to”, does that not imply that the majority of arrests that they typically make are completely unnecessary? And any reasonable, non-fascist person should recognize that making unnecessary arrests is a wholly unjustified use of police power.

It’s quite clear that we have a problem with the police in this country. The police monopolize the business of “protection” services in a given geographical area, and as with any monopoly, this leads to a lower quality and higher cost product. Worse still, these monopolies are backed with the force of the state, and are thus only very rarely held accountable for their actions.

The only real, true solution to this problem is to completely change the model of policing by privatizing the provision of defense. Unfortunately, I do not foresee an anarcho-libertarian society replacing our current one in the immediate future. In the meantime, we ought to fight the myth that without militarized police forces crawling through our towns and cities looking for small amounts of marijuana, the world would descend into a Hobbesian jungle.

Luckily, there is more than enough evidence that the “thin blue line” is not what separates our relatively civilized modern lifestyles from a Walking Dead style societal collapse. This should make it considerably easier to spread the word around and send that myth to the trash heap.

Recently, there were protests near Washington D.C. regarding the lack of justice in the murder of Eric Garner. The head of D.C.’s protection racket lamented that she would have to pull cops out of neighborhoods and towards the protestors, alleging that these cops won’t be around to prevent homicides and other real crimes. So, what happened without the police there?

“In the week of Dec. 13 through Dec. 20 — the week when most of these protests happened, dragging MPD away from the neighborhoods —no homicides were reported. Not a single one. Only one homicide happened in D.C. in the two weeks following the grand jury decision to not indict the New York City police officer who killed Eric Garner with a chokehold — police say it happened on a Tuesday morning.

As a NYC cop pointed out to me, on Sept. 11, 2001, there was no upswing in crime. Nor immediately after Hurricane Sandy.”

In other words, while the police were busy monitoring protestors, the average resident of D.C. didn’t suddenly morph into a psychopath.

Of course, that was merely a temporary diversion of police forces elsewhere. Surely, you say, without police protection for an extended period of time, crime will run rampant.

Not necessarily.

Consider Acapulco, Mexico, where the police had gone on strike this past spring. The consequences? People started treating red lights as though they were yield signs and became generally happier. So much so, in fact, that they don’t even want the police to return to work!

Without a doubt, there is a demand for security services. But security is about protecting private property, not destroying or stealing it. In other words, committing highway robbery for driving at a certain speed, forcefully preventing people from engaging in voluntary interactions because someone didn’t get a “permit”, and kidnapping people who happen to be carrying certain kind of plants – these are things that are not in demand when it comes to a security service.

But they are the vast majority of what we get with government police. In fact, 86% of the federal prison population consists of people convicted of victimless crimes. Police kill hundreds of innocent people every year, and almost always get away with it.

In an ideal world, you should have nothing to fear if you actually “have nothing to hide”. I don’t know about you, but if I’m driving and a cop pulls up behind me, fear is my primary emotion, even if I’m not speeding or knowingly violating any laws. This is not security. It is chaos.

And since police legally under no obligation to protect citizens, why do they even exist?

I find it amusing that conservatives are such supporters of police and “law and order” while typically considering socialism inefficient and evil. If state interference in the economy is so bad everywhere else, then why would it work any better with policing? To most people, the idea of any non-socialist arrangement for the production of security is laughable…but why?

After all, there are already three times more private security personnel than federal, state, and local police officers, and there are private security firms that have demonstrated their proficiency. Then there are the volunteer groups and neighborhood watches, such as the Oath Keepers, who helped protect private property in Ferguson for free while the police stood by and watched looters destroy peoples’ businesses.

If you want a cost-effective and just solution to the problem of providing security, you are far better off with a private organization. Take the Threat Management Center, for example. They have been providing security to clients in Detroit when the government isn’t around to “help”. In fact, they have been providing much of their services for free, because they have made enough profit from contracts with wealthier individuals and businesses – so much for only the rich being able to afford it.

Then there are organizations like the Community Security Service, which helps train individuals in Jewish communities in security practices. While not a perfect example (much of what they do involves working with government police), there is certainly a market for services that will train community members to provide their own security.

Despite these examples, I don’t expect most people to be immediately convinced. If you are interested in fairly brief explanations of why privatized security services are superior to government ones, see here or here. For a fantastic discussion on how socialism in law enforcement doesn’t work, see here.

We can only hope that the NYPD continues to arrest people only “when they have to”. Even better, this ought to be the new national standard for police work. Better still, have government police get out of the way and allow superior private protection services to flourish.

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