Mayor Eric Adams has made public safety his signature issue, and frequently indicates that major crimes are trending down.

But at the same time, complaints against police officers are trending up.

What You Need To Know

  • According to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, 5,550 complaints were filed against NYPD officers in 2023

  • The number of complaints was up 50% compared to 2022, and the highest total since 2012

  • The NYPD pointed to an increase in police-public interactions, with the NYPD making 20% more arrests last year

The latest annual report from the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board found 5,550 complaints against police were filed in 2023.

The number of complaints was a 50% increase compared to 2022, and the highest total since 2012.

There was also an 80% increase in complaints related to stop, question and frisk, according to the report.

The CCRB did manage to reduce investigation times by 28%.

“We’re still trying to grapple with that increase,” said Jonathan Darche, executive director for the CCRB.

The increased caseload comes amid budget cuts the Adams administration has imposed on city agencies.

According to Darche, the CCRB has put promotions on hold, seen its headcount shrink and is now investigating fewer categories of complaints.

“The budget cuts are a real disaster for this agency,” Darche said.

The increase in complaints last year may be attributable in part to an earlier expansion of the CCRB’s jurisdiction. But critics point to tactics implemented under Adams.

“The NYPD is really kind of engaging in the type of aggressive policing that we thought was going away under the previous administration, but seems like it’s come back,” said Daniel Lambright, senior staff attorney at the New York Civil Liberties Union.

The NYPD is no doubt engaging with the public more often; it made 20% more arrests and issued 75% more summonses last year, but police officials say officers are responding to quality-of-life complaints.

In a statement, an NYPD spokesperson said: “Increases in community complaints are expected to result in increases in police-public interactions and, logically, increases in enforcement… The amount of CCRB complaints pales in comparison to the millions of interactions officers have with the public on annual basis.”

The CCRB said there is no simple explanation behind the spike.

“We just aren’t able to do the analysis that would let me tell you that X percentage of that increase in due to Y procedure at the NYPD,” Darche said. “We just don’t have that information.”