Report and Social Media Slides on the Connections Between Policing and Public Housing for the Justice for All Coalition
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New Report Highlights Connections Between Policing and Public Housing Concluding: Defund the NYPD and Fund NYCHA Now
QUEENS, NY: Today and long-standing public housing residents are among those that are hyper-policed – in our city and across our country. This has real consequences for the health and well-being of residents and society at large. A new report released by the Justice For All Coalition today highlights what this means for public housing communities in western Queens – home of Queensbridge, the largest remaining public housing development in the US.
This inquiry grew from the rallying cries by activists last summer to #DefundNYPD and “defund police” more generally, which was so loud that it became a serious policy question in cities across the country during budget negotiations, and now is a decisive question during our city elections this year.
Through our work as the Justice For All Coalition, we learned that some residents were wary of this movement, worried that it could put themselves, their families, and their neighbors at greater risk, so we undertook a closer examination of the relationship between policing and the experiences of residents living in public housing. This report summarizes what we learned through that inquiry and concludes that police are not the answer to the problems plaguing public housing residents, but instead are a key part of the problem, and the only fair and just response is to invest public money in alternative, community-based models of safety, security, and well-being.
The seven sections of the short report can be described in three parts. The first part sets the scene by providing a bird’s eye view of how our public money is spent and summarizes research on policing and public housing. The second part provides a snapshot of what policing looks like in real-time in western Queens, taking care to highlight how hyper-policing contributes to and compounds other forms of oppression like deteriorating living conditions and job market discrimination. The final section asks, “where do we go from here”, and beyond summarizing the need to move away from policing, it also highlights existing alternatives already at play in public housing (mostly in western Queens as well).
We share this report humbly, as another empirical case study for understanding why the call to Defund the NYPD is so critical and to highlight some specific alternative future directions. We know that change is not easy, and can be unnerving, and that the knee-jerk reaction is so often to question the very possibility of change, but in this case, change is critical – lives are literally on the line, and moreover, change is already underway.
Suggested Citation: Hackett, K. (February 2021). Defund the NYPD and FUND NYCHA: The Contours of Hyper-policing in the Projects. NYCHA Rising.
Social Media Slides:
The following slides were also curated and created with representatives of the Astoria Mutual Aid Network – Anika Prager and Joe Craig.