The Occupy Wall Street protests, now into their second month, have cost 18 cities around the U.S. $13 million so far, according to a new AP report. The costs have mostly been in the area of law enforcement, as cities have ramped up police presences around occupations and sent cops in to evict campers and do crowd control at marches. In New York City, the costs have added up to $7 million.
The AP’s numbers are from the beginning of the protests through November 15, when the Zuccotti Park protesters were kicked out. The highest costs have been incurred in Oakland and New York.
The costs on taxpayers aren’t a good look for OWS, a movement that’s supposed to exist for their benefit, the numbers aren’t actually as extreme as we thought they’d be. Though $7 million sounds like a lot, it’s really not when you compare it to the NYPD’s $4.5 billion budget. And split between 18 different cities, $13 million sounds less impressive than it does in a headline.
The AP quotes deputy mayor Cas Holloway: “Public safety and providing essential services is what we do. So the first thing we’re going to do is handle the situation, and any situation that comes up. So yes, this has been significant and it’s been going on for many days, but really in the broad scheme of things, it’s not something that we aren’t prepared to deal with.”