City Poll: Most NYC Residents Believe NYPD is Racially Biased

While New Yorkers overwhelmingly feel safe in their neighborhoods, most residents also believe the NYPD is racially biased, and they give police commissioner William Bratton only lukewarm approval, according to results of our exclusive NY1-Baruch College City Poll. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

It would seem the NYPD is performing well. Crime remains historically low, and 79 percent of city residents say they feel very or somewhat safe on the street in their neighborhood at night, according to our NY1-Baruch College City Poll. Just 20 percent feel not safe.

"Almost 8 in 10 New Yorkers – 79 percent – feel at least somewhat safe in their neighborhoods at night. That’s a very good number," said Mickey Blum, a pollster with Baruch College.

The bad news is, a significant majority also see racial bias. 63 percent said no when asked if the NYPD treats people of all races and ethnicities equally. Just 29 percent said yes. 8 percent were not sure.

Those results are almost identical to a year ago and are fairly consistent across different demographic groups, although there were some outliers. Republicans, for instance, were more likely than not to believe the NYPD does treat people equally. On the other end of the spectrum, 83 percent of blacks perceive racial bias. That was more than 20 points higher than any other racial or ethnic group.”

It helps explain why Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced something called implicit bias training for all officers. It could also help explain Police Commissioner William Bratton’s modest approval numbers: 47 percent, versus 33 percent who disapprove. 19 percent were not sure.

"It’s still a plurality. More approve then disapprove," Blum said. "And it’s about what it was a year ago."

Bratton scores higher among Republicans and older residents, and lower among blacks and Latinos.

The City Council, meanwhile, has proposed decriminalizing quality-of-life crimes like open container and public urination.

"We are adding a civil option, and a civil offense option, because these low-level, non-violent offenses, New Yorkers simply do not belong in jail," City Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson of the Bronx said last month.

New Yorkers overwhelmingly agree. Across every subgroup, they back the proposal by more than two to one. 68 percent are in favor overall, and just 19 percent opposed, with 8 percent wanting some but not all offenses decriminalized.

"That cuts across every group," Blum said. "Everybody thinks it’s a good idea."

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