I’ve been enjoying the relatively new podcast by Preet Bharara. Most people probably don’t know who he is, but he’s the former federal prosecutor from NY’s southern district (i.e. NYC) who was fired by Trump a while back. He’s very smart, level and reasoned, and he gets smart interesting guests.
I would recommend all of the episodes, but the most recent with the NYPD police commissioner was very interesting. It’s obvious from the interview that Preet as a prosecutor has worked with the NYPD and has a ton of respect for them. Commissioner O’Neill comes across as a very smart and savvy commissioner.
One stat from the interview really leapt out at me. The NYPD has about 36,000 active cops. That’s not counting traffic enforcement, administrative, etc. These are active working cops. For many years the NYPD has been super stats oriented. It’s their whole CompStat program which they credit with the dramatic reduction in crime over the past 20 years. Whether that’s the primary cause is debatable, but it makes the NYPD a very data driven organization, and much of this data is public.
So given 36,000 cops in NYC, how many times in 2017 do you think there was an incident where a police officer fired a weapon in an adversarial situation? The “adversarial situation” caveat is meaningful because apparently there’s a fair number of animal attack and those are a different stat. They also track accidental discharge and suicides (the latter a small number, but not small enough).
So how many times in crazy NYC did the ginormous NYPD have an occasion to fire a gun against a criminal in 2017? Go ahead, guess.
That’s down from 810 in 1971. Which I only know because the NYPD publishes all of this. Though that number includes animal attacks and other types, the data wasn’t broken down back then apparently. The 2017 numbers aren’t online yet, Commission O’Neill stated that number on the podcast, but it follows the trend, down from 37 in 2016.
Anyway, check out the podcast, Preet is very interesting.