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Slowdown would stain NYPD's great success

NYPD officers salute as Wenjian Liu is buried

NYPD officers salute as Wenjian Liu is buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn on Sunday, Jan. 4, 2015. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

For many NYPD officers, the rage continues to smolder. One day after hundreds of cops -- again -- turned their backs on the mayor during the funeral of a slain colleague, new evidence surfaced that an NYPD work slowdown is quietly rolling into its third week.

The news is shocking and outrageous.

It's a shocker because any slowdown seems to have made little difference in New York's free-falling crime rates. Published reports say that since the assassinations of NYPD officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu on Dec. 20 in Bedford-Stuyvesant, summonses citywide have dropped 90 percent while arrests in seven major felony categories have tumbled by nearly half.

Union leaders have denied an organized action. Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says overall crime stats seemed to continue their decline in the past two weeks. But the very fact that such a large drop in police actions could escape instant public notice makes some watchdogs question whether the NYPD overuses "broken windows" tactics -- where minor crimes are vigorously policed as a way to keep larger crimes from happening.

Bratton, reassuringly, says "broken windows" is here to stay. Opponents of this approach should check the city's 2014 homicide tally, which was announced Monday. It weighs in at 332 -- the lowest number in NYC's recently recorded history. Before "broken windows" -- in the early 1990s -- annual homicides routinely topped 2,000.

Bratton said at a news conference Monday he'll review stats for the last two weeks to determine what's going on. And if some cops really are in an organized slowdown?

Then they've committed an essential breach of trust with the public they're supposed to protect.

No excuses. Police work is risky. Contract negotiations, which are going on now, can be maddening. Mayor Bill de Blasio has never been a huge fan of the department. None of this is reason to work less and seek to publicly embarrass the mayor at something as sacred as a funeral.

New York's success at keeping crime low surpasses that of every other big American city. Our force is as professional as they come. But it doesn't always show it.


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