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Bias-Based Policing

About the Issue

The NYPD’s heavy-handed enforcement of minor offenses and violations disproportionately affect communities of color, low-income communities, immigrant communities and LGBT communities. Data published by the New York City Criminal Courts indicates dramatic increases in the number of summons issued for “low-level” offenses in the past several years, namely disorderly conduct, riding bicycles on the sidewalk, marijuana possession and violations of the open container law – more than 500,000 summonses were issued citywide in 2008 alone. These NYPD practices that introduce members of vulnerable groups to the criminal justice system for offenses as petty as riding a bike on a sidewalk can have serious collateral consequences – including deportation, loss of a job, loss of public housing or benefits, and interruptions in education.

The NYCLU Campaign The NYCLU is building evidence that the NYPD’s over-reliance on broken windows policing not only places far too many New Yorkers into a biased criminal justice system but also has negative effects on public safety. We are currently surveying thousands of New Yorkers to find out what effects broken windows has on their lives.

Have an opinion about the NYPD’s practices in your neighborhood or an experience you would like to share? Take our survey and contribute to our campaign research. Haga clic aquí para tomar la encuesta en español. For more information about this survey, email For more information about the NYCLU’s campaign against bias-based policing, email or call 212-607-3361.

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Civil Liberties Union