Relevant statistics are not kept. Why should we? That would only help the rabble.
But sometimes you can put two and two together from different sources. Most of the time it’s not very good information – and that’s true of what we are about to note here – but then again it’s some indication. Better than nothing, we think.
So the NYPD has an annual budget considerably north of $900 million, and we’ll just round that up to $1 billion per year for simplicity’s sake. Then, according to this article, in seven years New York City paid out $630 million to resolve police misconduct claims.
That works out to 9% of the police budget. And to us, based on what we just wrote the other day, that seems about right. About what we would expect.
But compare and contrast. The information here is not as good because no one is really keeping the information. But in any event looking at the closer to home example of Rochester, New York it seems that with an annual police department budget of $90 million, the city is paying out about $300,000 per year to resolve police misconduct claims.
That works out to less than .4% of the police budget. Not 4%. Point 4%.
Isn’t that interesting? New York City pays out about 25 times more, proportionately, than Rochester does for police misconduct claims. What would explain that?
Also very interesting: Rochester has a population of about 200,000. New York City has a population of about 9 million, 45 times greater than Rochester. Yet the New York City police annual budget is only 10-12 times higher.
Is New York City under-policed? Is Rochester over-policed? We’d be interested to hear opinions.
Suggestion: As the visibility and prominence of the relevant city rises, police accountability increases owing to increased media and official scrutiny. And vice versa.
CORRECTION: Actually, for the City of Rochester it appears the linked article is referring to only two fiscal years, not four calendar years; that is, 2015-16 and 2017-17 is two years. So we have averaged the two years of $909,000 and $392,000 to $650,000 per year contrasted with a police department budget of $90 million and come up with a rate of .7%, still and proportionately about 1/13th of the NYC payout. We’re still looking for an explanation. RPD is more than 10 times better than NYPD at avoiding misconduct that injures someone? That seems doubtful.