Poll Shows New Yorkers Don't Know What's Good for Them Want More Cops



A new Quinnipiac University poll finds a curious attitudes among New Yorkers. In a twist on the old joke, city residents complain that the New York Police Department (NYPD) is terrible—and such small portions! 

In the poll, conducted June 5-9, Quinnipiac found that the NYPD's approval rating was at 59 percent, down from 68 percent in March. (Perhaps the spree of NYPD cops getting drunk and shooting at people in April and May had something to do with the decline.) Yet three-quarters of those surveyed support a city council proposal to hire 1,000 additional officers.

Additionally, 59 percent of respondents said the NYPD should resume patrols of public housing hallways in which anyone they encounter must show ID. 

"We can't ignore the likely impact of the highly-publicized murder of a child in a housing project elevator," said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Maurice Carroll. "At least in this emotional time, the civil liberties spokespeople are out of touch with the people they speak for." 

Thank goodness they are.

As we all know, tragic events tend to produce feelings that we should Do! Something! For many, the best thing to do is always anything, because doing anything—no matter what, even if it doesn't work—demonstrates that we are Good People Who Care.

Good People Who Care obviously support more cops in public housing, because a) the vast majority of them probably don't live in public housing themselves, and b) even if the NYPD is terrible, what's the harm? If there's even a small chance that sending in more cops and curtailing civil liberties can prevent another child murder, we obviously should. 

But these people don't think about the unintended effects that essentially militarizing public housing can have—starting with what living in a police state does to a community's morale and attitudes (not breed goodwill, that's for certain). And increasing police presence in public housing won't just lead to the catching of more violent or serious criminals (if it ever does). More police presence means more arrests for administrative transgressions, such as unpaid court fees or failure to meet a probationary curfew, and minor drug possession.

There's also the fact that when you militarize a place under the express idea that it is a hotbed of crime that requires action, people tend to wind up dead—at the hands of the cops.

But, oh!, look at me being a silly libertarian thinking about silly things like unintended consequences and people's rights. In these emotional times…

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  1. You don’t elect Bloombergs and de Blasios by being critical thinkers.

  2. “At least in this emotional time, the civil liberties spokespeople are out of touch with the people they speak for.”

    And emotions are always the best way to create policy.

  3. Since all polls are bullshit, I don’t think you can read too much into this, but I’d like to see who they contacted for the poll, how, and what the exact questions were (I am far too busy to go see if I can find this stuff). My guess is that they called land lines, skewing to older respondents, and asked leading questions. You know, like all polls.

    I can only give personal anecdotal evidence, but among the people I knew when I lived in NYC, there was pretty much just a general dislike to burning hatred for the NYPD, and pigs were avoided as much as possible.

    1. I have never met a New Yorker who had any respect for the NYPD. And that has been true in my experience regardless of political affiliation. It kind of shocked me a bit when I first encountered it. A good friend who I was visiting the first time I ever went to NYC commented on a cop sitting in a car and explained to me what animals the NYPD were and how you should stay away from them. This friend was a manager fairly well up in IBM and a 40 something woman with fairly liberal political views. So it wasn’t like I was getting the view of the NYPD from some young black kid. If my friend thinks that about them, what do the poor people think of them.

      1. There is a difference between hating the NYPD and wishing there were more cops on the job. Just like so many people hate congress but continue to support ‘their’ guy.

        1. Definitely.

    2. The top link has all the exact questions and numbers. http://www.quinnipiac.edu/news…..aseID=2051

      1. I don’t think the questions are leading.

        1. Well, that’s depressing. New Yorkers are morons.

  4. Most people are terrified of poor people and especially poor minorities. So they are happy to pay for more cops to keep said people in line. That is really all there is to it. No one will ever say it in polite company but it is true. Those enlightened good liberal pram pushing mothers on the upper east side are terrified of the people who live in the projects and want a thick blue line of cops between themselves and those people.

    1. Precisely.

    2. Are you saying the H&R commentariat is not “polite”? Fuck you! 😉

      1. I hope it isn’t because I sure as hell am not.

  5. If there’s even a small chance that sending in more cops and curtailing civil liberties can prevent another child murder, we obviously should.

    A simple statistical cost-benefit analysis will obviously dissuade people from such beliefs.

  6. Poll Shows New Yorkers…Want More Cops

    Of course they do. Why wouldn’t more be better?

  7. How about the fact that cops are government employees and firing them and cutting their budget could be used to justify doing the same to other government employees?

  8. This attitude is all to common among Manhattan dwellers. My company has an office out there, so I meet up with a lot of them. And without exception, I have gotten tepid if not vigorous defenses of the following statements:

    – It is a good thing that every single square inch of NYC is under surveillance because it prevents crime.
    – Cracking down on AirBnB was absolutely necessary because too many people were complaining to the NYC consumer protection agency
    – Stop and Frisk is the only way to police a city as special as theirs.

    1. And note, all of that applies to poor people. Start stop and frisking office workers and running drug stings on law firms and I bet they would look at things differently.

      1. The Inner Party is supposed to left alone after all.

      2. Nope, they hate wall street too. It isn’t about poor people, it’s about OTHER people. They walk around all day ignoring one another. Most people don’t know the people on their floor. They go to bars and self segregate, and spend all day walking past a mass of people they don’t know.

        They of course CAN’T know all these people who live within a few miles of them. Millions of people.

        And so they are BATSHIT SCARED of those other people. Not because they are poor, or black. They are scared because they project all of their deepest darkest fears and fantasies on those faceless masses, convinced that Bloomberg or Giuliani or Statist Fuck du Jour is all that keeps the barbarians from beating down their door.

        1. Those people are more fucked up than even I think New Yorkers are.

          1. I spent a lot of time in New York when my friends went to college there. There is something weird about having so many people around you. You physically cannot smile and say hello to the thousands of people you pass as you walk down the street. So you stop. And you stop making eye contact. You go to the same bar after work, and you see those stock brokers in suits, and those people over there in black are the ad agency types. I’ll sit here with my student friends and make fun of those others.

            And that breeds all other sorts of weird thoughts- I’m surrounded by people, but I’m anonymous. I don’t know that guy who lives across from me. For all I know he could be a serial killer. Hell, I could be a serial killer and no one would know. There’s just too many of us here. We are just a few power outages away from total Lord of the Flies.

            Often people want to blame the government for not protecting them enough from an unforseen disaster. Hurricanes, earthquakes, terror attacks- they can’t blame the real cause so they blame the government. It is their way of feeling like they are under control. Living in NYC (or LA) is like living in tornado alley- except its the faceless man that is the awaiting disaster. Luckily keeping him in check is EXACTLY what the government is for.

            1. Hasn’t there been some studies showing that people who don’t trust others ironically end up supporting more government?

          2. They are more fucked up than anyone I know in NYC – and I live here. I guess I just don’t hang out with frightened misanthropes.

  9. If you willingly live in NY, you are a disgusting piece of human trash.

    Get the Hell out of my country.

  10. NYC is already overflowing with cops – it boggles the mind that anyone thinks we need more of them. I read somewhere we’ve got like triple or quadruple as many per person as LA.

  11. So, basically, the poll indicates that lots of New Yorkers would agree that “The NYPD is terrible. We must do something! Hiring another 1,000 cops is something, so we must hire 1,000 more cops!”

  12. I suppose it depend on precisely how the questions were phrased.

    I would support the hiring of 1000 new cops in New York, if they were to replace all the horrible cops being sent to prison.

  13. Perhaps government shouldn’t own housing projects that need to be patrolled

  14. Elizabeth,

    Drop the sanctimony and try living in East New York for a few months. You might (god forbid) have to alter your opinion.

    New York City gun incidents have gone up 10% over the past year, and 30% over the past month. Victims of gun violence have gone up 13% over the past year, and 43% over the past month. Consider that Manhattan experiences virtually no gun violence, and that the explosion of violence is heavily concentrated in the outer boroughs. In some Brooklyn precincts there has been a 300% increase in gun violence from last year.

    A disproportionate amount of these incidents occur in minority neighborhoods and a disproportionate amount of the victims are black and Hispanic. It’s not a surprise then that 78% of blacks and 70% of Hispanics approve hiring 1,000 extra cops, while 62% of blacks and 62% of Hispanics (compared to 58% of whites) approve public housing patrols.

    To castigate people who live under the threat of gun and gang violence on a nightly basis reeks of condescension and white paternalism. If only those minorities would listen to us Libertarians.

    Your argument is also reminiscent of a crude strain of Marxism, as you (implicitly) accuse the ignorant minorities and lower class masses that they live under false-consciousness. The libertarian vanguard to the rescue!

  15. In many places, I could support ideas like: “Hire more police officers, in exchange for taking away the guns and cruisers of most of the existing ones, and making them walk.”

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