We Build The Block
Image

We believe in a future where communities have a voice and role in how public safety is best achieved. Working with a broad coalition of activists, public safety experts and community members, we identified 5 key policy changes that would transform public safety in NYC.


1

Create a participatory budget process

Over the last decade 96% of the $321 million the NYPD has spent on dozens of consultants for a wide range of services, many charged with improving relations with black and brown communities, has gone to white-owned firms. Participatory budgeting is a community-level democratic approach to public spending in which local people directly decide how to spend millions of dollars in public funding. Allowing communities to use the money to develop public safety strategies is a core component to community-led public safety.


2

Develop community-led responses to shootings


As of 2020 the city’s overall clearance rate of homicides is 50.9%, and in Brooklyn that number is 32.6%. Additionally, gun violence continues to climb, indicating that the 96-hour shooting response is both ineffective at solving incidents of violence or preventing gun violence. This approach has unintended negative consequences for community members. Family members, friends, and neighbors of shooting victims may be dealing with trauma related to the event, and NYPD’s enforcement-oriented approach does not feel responsive to their grief, shock, and fear. The mismatch between community members’ experience and the policing approach exacerbates police/community tensions and undermines opportunities to collaborate to reduce incidents of gun violence.

3

Purge the gang database


The gang database is a racially discriminatory tool of mass incarceration. While Gang-motivated crime makes up less than 1 percent of all reported crime in New York City, New Yorkers have been added to the NYPD gang database under de Blasio at a rate of 342 people per month, nearly three times the rate of the prior decade. This surveillance tool does little to increase public safety, but negatively impacts communities of color, deepening justice involvement through over policing and creating a downstream effect on access to social services and support. As stated previously reflected in crime clearance rate and the upward trend of gun violence, this is an ineffective tool to solve or prevent violence.


4
Develop a community-informed promotion matrix

Currently 75% of uniformed staff holding rank above captain is non-hispanic white. Recognizing the internal culture of the NYPD mirrors the behaviors and abuse in black and brown communities by police it is important to set a standard for discretionary promotions that come with increased responsibility and pay. Giving Black and Latinx communities input not only shifts the power dynamics between communities and the precinct, it creates a pipeline of accountability of officers to the community upon their entering the department. Officers will understand that to ascend to leadership they will need to be responsive and cooperative with the community instead of implementing the out-dated and overly punitive demands of current leadership.


5

Remove the 911 system from NYPD control


As stated by the Vera Institute: Police spend an inordinate amount of time responding to 911 calls for service. While most of these calls are unrelated to crimes in progress, police often respond with the tool that is most familiar and expedient to them: enforcement. This exhausts police resources and exposes countless people to avoidable criminal justice system contacts. There is a pressing need for data-informed strategies to identify 911 calls that present a true public safety emergency and require an immediate police response, while responding to other calls in ways that do not tax limited policing resources and promote better outcomes for the people involved and the communities where they reside.

We Build The Block
Image

We believe in a future where communities have a voice and role in how public safety is best achieved. Working with a broad coalition of activists, public safety experts and community members, we identified 5 key policy changes that would transform public safety in NYC.


1

1
Create a participatory budget process


Over the last decade 96% of the $321 million the NYPD has spent on dozens of consultants for a wide range of services, many charged with improving relations with black and brown communities, has gone to white-owned firms. Participatory budgeting is a community-level democratic approach to public spending in which local people directly decide how to spend millions of dollars in public funding. Allowing communities to use the money to develop public safety strategies is a core component to community-led public safety.

2
Develop community-led responses to shootings


As of 2020 the city’s overall clearance rate of homicides is 50.9%, and in Brooklyn that number is 32.6%. Additionally, gun violence continues to climb, indicating that the 96-hour shooting response is both ineffective at solving incidents of violence or preventing gun violence. This approach has unintended negative consequences for community members. Family members, friends, and neighbors of shooting victims may be dealing with trauma related to the event, and NYPD’s enforcement-oriented approach does not feel responsive to their grief, shock, and fear. The mismatch between community members’ experience and the policing approach exacerbates police/community tensions and undermines opportunities to collaborate to reduce incidents of gun violence.

3
Purge the gang database


The gang database is a racially discriminatory tool of mass incarceration. While Gang-motivated crime makes up less than 1 percent of all reported crime in New York City, New Yorkers have been added to the NYPD gang database under de Blasio at a rate of 342 people per month, nearly three times the rate of the prior decade. This surveillance tool does little to increase public safety, but negatively impacts communities of color, deepening justice involvement through over policing and creating a downstream effect on access to social services and support. As stated previously reflected in crime clearance rate and the upward trend of gun violence, this is an ineffective tool to solve or prevent violence.

4
Develop a community-informed promotion matrix


Currently 75% of uniformed staff holding rank above captain is non-hispanic white. Recognizing the internal culture of the NYPD mirrors the behaviors and abuse in black and brown communities by police it is important to set a standard for discretionary promotions that come with increased responsibility and pay. Giving Black and Latinx communities input not only shifts the power dynamics between communities and the precinct, it creates a pipeline of accountability of officers to the community upon their entering the department. Officers will understand that to ascend to leadership they will need to be responsive and cooperative with the community instead of implementing the out-dated and overly punitive demands of current leadership.

5
Remove the 911 system from NYPD control


As stated by the Vera Institute: Police spend an inordinate amount of time responding to 911 calls for service. While most of these calls are unrelated to crimes in progress, police often respond with the tool that is most familiar and expedient to them: enforcement. This exhausts police resources and exposes countless people to avoidable criminal justice system contacts. There is a pressing need for data-informed strategies to identify 911 calls that present a true public safety emergency and require an immediate police response, while responding to other calls in ways that do not tax limited policing resources and promote better outcomes for the people involved and the communities where they reside.