Over the past several weeks, as a result of the growing tension between the NYPD and NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio, members of the NYPD have refused to enforce “quality-of-life” crimes, including loitering, public urination, solicitation and subway-fare jumping. With the NYPD ignoring the Broken Windows campaign, the number of arrests have dropped dramatically, and with it, the amount of revenue that is usually generated by the imposition of fines and surcharges in the courts.
Although, perhaps the opposite should be true, if the police are not spending their time with the small quality-of-life offenses, then we may not need as many police officers, or the ones we have don’t need overtime. As a system, the cost (in man hours, legal services and incarceration) of all of the quality-of-life offenses, which are more likely to be committed by individuals that are appointed an attorney, is probably higher than the income generated from the fines and surcharges imposed by the courts. So ultimately, the City might save money by not arresting low-level offenders, if it reduces the amount of money necessary to pay to the services required when an individual is arrested.