Thursday, January 1, 2015

Law Enforcement as Exchange

NYPD arrest tallies are up for the week ending 21 December 2014.

Yes, there are slight year-to-year declines for things like murder, felonious assault, and burglary, but those are small-numbers issues, and are consistent with the overall ongoing nationwide drop in violent crime. The line items that are creating headlines like this one from the NY Post are "transit" and "housing", i.e. the revenue-generators, the but-for-the-badge tricks an organized police force can use to most resemble a roving knot of bandits.

This suggests that there are indeed two broad implied contracts. One, signed between the police and the public, is being upheld: we will protect you from the worst elements of society, the muggers, the brutes, the murderers, the rapists. The other, signed between the police and the political elite, is in (temporary) breach: we will act as your goons, your hired muscle to extort the voiceless and the downtrodden.

This week, not without a hint of irony, New Yorkers can breathe. The cops haven't stopped getting dangerous criminals off the street, but they have stopped harassing innocent passersby. The arrangement is more euvoluntary.

Ordinarily, this would be cause for celebration. But it took the murder of two police officers to obtain this cease-fire. The game tree just sprouted a diseased branch. Let's hope someone has the temperance and prudence to lop it off before it poisons the trunk.

Redacted. The linked document lists complaints, not police actions. Apologies for the hasty, unsupported analysis. Mea culpa.

1 comment:

  1. There is also risk in other financial instruments, including from the scourge of inflation.


Do you have suggestions on where we could find more examples of this phenomenon?