First, NYC's cops turned their back on Bill de Blasio, best known for first rushing to side with New York's "oppressed" minorities "threatened" by the local police, and then, when two weeks later 2 NYPD cops were executed in cold blood and in broad daylight in what some hinted was an unintended consequence of the mayor's bashing of the police, scrambling to undo his previous populism and to show his affection for New York's cops.
Now, those tasked to protect and to serve the Big Apple, appear to have decided to turn their back on their job entirely, and in what is shaping up to be a long vendetta with the mayor, have succumbed to what the NY Post calls "a virtual work stoppage."
This implicit strike by the NYPD is manifesting as follows: "traffic tickets and summonses for minor offenses have dropped off by a staggering 94 percent following the execution of two cops — as officers feel betrayed by the mayor and fear for their safety."
To some this is great news: the local police will no longer be breathing over everyone's back, and one can park in the red zone without fears of a summons. To others this bears an unpleasant resemblance to New York in the 1970s and early 80s when the police dared not show their face in various parts of the city due to rampant crime.
Fearful that it may be the latter, the mayor has decided to let all populist rhetoric drop and instead focus on mending fences:
The dramatic drop comes as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio plan to hold an emergency summit on Tuesday with the heads of the five police unions to try to close the widening rift between cops and the administration.
The unprecedented meeting is being held at the new Police Academy in Queens at 2 p.m., sources said.
Meanwhile, unless something changes, New York may indeed become the perfect incubator for a new crime wave:
Angry union leaders have ordered drastic measures for their members since the Dec. 20 assassination of two NYPD cops in a patrol car, including that two units respond to every call.
It has helped contribute to a nose dive in low-level policing, with overall arrests down 66 percent for the week starting Dec. 22 compared with the same period in 2013, stats show.
Citations for traffic violations fell by 94 percent, from 10,069 to 587, during that time frame.
Summonses for low-level offenses like public drinking and urination also plunged 94 percent — from 4,831 to 300. Even parking violations are way down, dropping by 92 percent, from 14,699 to 1,241.
Drug arrests by cops assigned to the NYPD’s Organized Crime Control Bureau — which are part of the overall number — dropped by 84 percent, from 382 to 63.
Of course, one may ask if those numbers were abnormally high to begin with: a trigger-happy police going about arresting everyone in their path would surely lead to a high baseline to begin with. But as the Fed has learned the hard way, it is all about the flow, not the stock. And any changes and deviations in the NYPD's pattern will surely be promptly taken advantage of by New York's criminal underworld.
Naturally, New York's cops will be the last to admit they are engaging in what amounts to a city-wide boycott of the mayor's office: "Police sources said Monday that safety concerns were the main reason for the dropoff in police activity, but added that some cops were mounting an undeclared slowdown in protest of de Blasio’s response to the non-indictment in the police chokehold death of Eric Garner."
“The call last week from the PBA is what started it, but this has been simmering for a long time,” one source said.
“This is not a slowdown for slowdown’s sake. Cops are concerned, after the reaction from City Hall on the Garner case, about de Blasio not backing them.”
The Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association has warned its members to put their safety first and not make arrests “unless absolutely necessary."
How does this play out? It is unclear, although de Blasio will almost certainly be made to walk with his populist tail between his legs before there is any resolution. More importantly, he - like many others to follow - will finally learn that every action, and statement, does have consequences, even in a world in which the Chairman, or Chairwoman, does get to work and mask every problem with even more printing. Even in a world in which the police state has gotten just "a tad powerful" in recent years.
As for whether a crime wave will in fact hit New York City, we have no idea. We do know, however, that if anyone needed yet another reason to avoid being in the middle of Times Square zoo on New Year's Eve, this is it.