Would you believe that in an era where your mere presence on the sidewalk is seen as illegal and when the most prolific police tactic yielded more weed than weapons, minor crime arrests soared? DNAinfo's Murray Weiss obtained data showing that under Mayor Bloomberg's tenure, arrests for turnstile jumping, drinking in public, marijuana, public urination, and disorderly conduct all rose dramatically.
Arrests for low-level offenses reached their peak in 2010, when 90,000 more people were detained and processed through the criminal justice system for petty crimes than when Bloomberg took office in 2002. "Broken Windows" turned into "Shattered Skylights," or something.
“Does this approach sweep up some criminals? Yes,” a former police official told “On The Inside.” "Does it keep them from doing something worse? Probably.
“But is it worth what it is costing the city in terms of overtime, police-community relations, and clogging the court system?" the official said in reference to the ramped-up zero tolerance policy. "I don't think so.”
Indeed, Weiss notes that 10% of all quality-of-life arrests are eventually thrown out—that number is higher for offenses like trespassing and disorderly conduct (Our favorite deliciously vague, infinitely applicable charge? Obstructing governmental administration).
And the number of adjournment in contemplation of dismissals (ACDs)—a deal in which a defendant has their case dismissed after a certain period of time spent without an arrest—kept pace with the soaring number of low-level arrests.
In 2002 there were 60,468 ACDs [PDF]. By 2011, that number had risen to 84,504.
As arrests for petty crimes increased, arrests for serious crimes, like rape, assault, and robbery, dropped by 10% during Bloomberg's term. Overall, crime has dropped by 30%. Just know that when you pop a squat or unzip your fly, you're being watched.