Does the NYPD (New York City Police Department) treat victims well? Explain why or why not. Would you change anything? If so, what? If not, why not? Address costs as well.

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jameadows eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After 1994, crime in New York City declined precipitously, and—according to Eric Silverman, author of NYPD Battles Crime—the New York City Police (NYPD) has been credited with this double-digit crime reduction. In this sense, victims and potential victims may believe that the NYPD has helped improve their lives.

However, according to Silverman, changes in the 1990s also reconfigured the Street Crime Units (SCUs) that patrol neighborhoods. These units are made up of experienced police officers, and they do not always know the neighborhoods that they patrol in unmarked cars. As a result, they are not always responsive to the needs of the communities and to the crime victims in the neighborhoods where they are assigned. In addition, the NYPD developed a CPU Recanvass Unit (Silverman, page 216), through which police officers re-interview crime victims and others in the community. This process helps reassure victims that the police are concerned about their welfare.

However, many victims in New York might not feel that the police are responsive to them and their communities. In addition, some experts believe that after the police are accused of killing a black person without cause (as they were in New York City after Eric Garner's death in 2014), fewer black people will even call the police if they are needed.

Therefore, you should consider both sides of this question and ask yourself whether all victims are willing to rely on the police. Based on what you find, you might want to institute reforms, such as community policing in which officers know the neighborhoods they patrol very well so that victims feel comfortable reporting crimes to the police. Community policing is, however, expensive, as officers have to have a very small beat so that they can get to know their neighborhoods well. Therefore, many more officers have to be on patrol.