In March 1997, New York City was very early into what would become a long decline in its crime rate. The number of officers was inflated by thousands of extra officers hired with an extra tax surcharge under the “Safe Streets Safe City” plan under former Mayor Dinkins and his police commissioner Ray Kelly. New York City had 42,715 full time equivalent police officers, 2.7 times as many as the US. average per 100,000 residents. By March 2007 crime had plunged, a decrease widely credited to the “Broken Window” and “Compstat” innovations of former Mayor Giuliani, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, and his successors. The city promoted itself as the safest in the nation. New York City had 46,776 police officers, 2.8 times the U.S. average per 100,000 residents. In March 2017 crime had plunged further. Mayor Bill DeBlasio had been elected in part by promising to get an out of control police department back under control. New York City had 49,477 police officers, or 2.9 times the U.S. average per 100,000 residents, though their mean pay was only slightly above the U.S. average.
So data from the various Censuses of Governments that I have tabulated over the decades has shown. But is that really the case? And what about the NYC Fire Department, the much-criticized NYC Corrections Department, the state prisons, and comparable agencies elsewhere in New York State, the NY metro area and country? Are we really being told the truth about the actual reason for the plan to close the jails at Rikers Island? Let’s take a look.