Stop, Frisk, and Save Lives

The next time I read about “racial” profiling I may punch my monitor. It isn’t “racial” profiling it’s “observed correlation between race and crime” profiling. But don’t tell that to Shira Scheindlin, a United States District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York.

Scheindlin, as most readers will know, is the judge who recently found New York City’s stop-and-frisk program to be unconstitutional, ordered immediate changes to the program, and called for a monitor to supervise related reforms. The judge’s ruling has been reinforced by New York’s City Council:

The nation’s biggest police department will get a new watchdog and face easier standards for people to file profiling lawsuits against it after the City Council on Thursday overrode mayoral vetoes amid applause from supporters and angry warnings from opponents.

The measures mark the most aggressive legislative effort in years to put new checks on the New York Police Department, and the vote came less than two weeks after [Judge Shira Scheindlin] imposed new oversight of her own….

The legislation drew national attention from civil rights groups and a vehement response from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who slapped it down earlier this summer. He said Thursday it will make it “harder for our police officers to protect New Yorkers and continue to drive down crime.”

“Make no mistake: The communities that will feel the most negative impacts of these bills will be minority communities across our city, which have been the greatest beneficiaries of New York City’s historic crime reductions,” he said in a statement….

Earlier this month, U.S. District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin appointed an outside monitor to reform stop and frisk, a practice she said the police department had used in a way that violated the rights of hundreds of thousands of black and Hispanic men. The city is appealing….

Opponents said the measures would lower police morale but not crime, waste money and not solve a broader problem of a police force under pressure after shrinking by thousands of officers during the last decade.

“These bills are downright dangerous,” Councilman Eric Ulrich said.

My view, precisely. And it is the view of William L. Gensler, writing at American Thinker:

In 2012, 74% of shooting victims in New York City were black, as were 75% of those arrested for these shootings. Blacks also comprised 73% of all firearm arrests. They were also the victim 38% of the time, and the arrestee in 48% of all rapes.

60% of murder victims were black, as were 51% of those arrested for murder. Blacks were the victim of 32% of all robberies and were the arrestee 62% of the time. 52% of those arrested for felonious assault were black. They were also 48% of the victims. They encompassed 52% of those arrested for grand larceny, which is the theft of property with a value in excess of one thousand dollars.

45% of felony drug arrests were black as were 50% of misdemeanor drug arrests. 52% of those arrested for felony possession of stolen property were black as were 47% of those arrested for misdemeanor possession of stolen property.

66% of the suspects of violent crime were black and 55% of those stopped and frisked were also black. This last part is the statistic Mayor Bloomberg was referring to when he claimed the program didn’t stop enough minorities.

In 2009, the esteemed Walter Williams estimated that in America as a whole, there are somewhere around 7,000 blacks murdered each year, and in 94% of those murders, the person doing the murdering was also black. The Wall Street Journal presents data supporting the 94% figure.

Between 2000 and 2010 in all states except Florida, there were 165,068 murders. 78,521 of those murdered were black. 68,531 of the killers were also black. This means that in the first decade of the twenty first century, around 41.5% of all murders in America were committed by blacks (assuming Florida’s numbers were similar) and 47.5% of the victims were also black….

In 1990 there were 2,245 murders in New York City — in 1991 there were 2,154….

There were 419 murders in New York City in 2012. This dramatic improvement from more than 2,200 killings in 1990 to a little over 400 in 2012 was the result of “Stop and Frisk.”

The program has been successful in removing the illegal weapon from the calculus of crime and saved thousands of lives. Michael Bloomberg authoritatively states that more 8,000 guns and 80,000 other weapons were taken off the street during his 2 ½ terms as NYC Mayor. He also estimates that more than 7,300 people are alive today who wouldn’t be, if not for “Stop and Frisk.” Ray Kelly, the New York City Police Commissioner agrees, putting the lives saved at 7.383.

I never liked Mayor Bloomberg, and rarely agree with him. But, he is right on “Stop and Frisk.”

On this issue, Bloomberg is a “stopped clock” — uncharacteristically right.

If you want less crime, you have to lock up criminals. In order to lock up criminals, you have to identify them.


Cross-posted at Blogger News Network.


Related posts:
Does Capital Punishment Deter Homicide?
Libertarian Twaddle about the Death Penalty
Crime and Punishment
Abortion and Crime
Saving the Innocent?
Saving the Innocent?: Part II
More on Abortion and Crime
More Punishment Means Less Crime
More About Crime and Punishment
More Punishment Means Less Crime: A Footnote
Clear Thinking about the Death Penalty
Let the Punishment Fit the Crime
Another Argument for the Death Penalty
Less Punishment Means More Crime
Crime, Explained
Abortion and Crime (from a different angle than the earlier post of the same name)
Lock ‘Em Up