Tracking Enforcement Trends in New York City: 2003-2018

In this report, the Data Collaborative for Justice (DCJ) examines how New York City’s enforcement rates (defined as felony and misdemeanor arrests, criminal summonses and pedestrian stops) have changed from 2003 to 2018, adding four additional years of data to update DCJ’s prior report, Tracking Enforcement Rates in New York City, 2003-2014.

Key Findings:

  • Overall enforcement: Following a sharp increase from 2003 to 2011, NYPD dramatically reduced enforcement. In 2018, there were 1,187,643 fewer combined arrests, criminal summonses, and pedestrian stops (“enforcement actions”) than in 2011.
  • Racial disparities: Even as overall enforcement rates increased and decreased significantly between 2003 and 2018, disparities in enforcement between Black people and White people persisted. There were 5.8 enforcement actions among Black people for every one enforcement action among White people in 2018.
    •  Throughout the 16-year study period, Black people had the highest enforcement rate, followed by Hispanic people, and then White people.
    • In 2018, Black people had an enforcement rate of 7,795 enforcement actions per 100,000 Black individuals, Hispanic people had an enforcement rate of 4,188 per 100,000 Hispanic individuals, and White people had an enforcement rate of 1,334 enforcement actions per 100,000 White individuals.
  • Significant demographics: The younger age groups (16-17,18-20, and 21-24-year-olds) show both the greatest increases and decreases in enforcement between 2013 and 2018.
  • Charge types: From 2011 to 2018, the greatest declines for felonies, misdemeanors, and criminal summonses were for charges related to drugs and alcohol. Although arrests involving drugs and alcohol were subject to some of the starkest decreases, these charges were still some of the most frequently enforced offenses in 2018.