Earlier this week, we told you about a guy who spent 28 hours in lockup after having exited a subway station through an emergency door. Later, you may have read about the arrest of Japanese pop artist Yoshimoto Nara, who spent the night in jail after having drawn a smiley face on a subway-station wall with a Sharpie. We were beginning to wonder if this was a trend: busting people for small transit-related misdemeanors. One would think, in these times of oncoming unemployment and poverty, police would be distracted from these kinds of crimes, rather than focused on them. But it turns out there is an official trend! Yesterday the NYPD initiated a 24-hour cell-phone crackdrown, sending out officers all over the city to pull over people who were yakking while driving. Hilariously, a Daily News reporter on the trail of this story Thursday was busted by the cops himself for doing exactly that.
We kind of like the idea that the NYPD, in anticipation of a general decline in New York's quality of public life, has taken a proactive approach to the broken-windows theory. It seems like a good strategy to deal with the recession. Unfortunately, it will probably include heavy enforcement on the city's open-container laws, which will interfere with a key element of our strategy to deal with the recession.