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New York Post

 

Stop & Frisk Facts

May 22, 2012

By Heather Mac Donald

It’s all about crime — not race

The demagoguery around the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices has reached a fevered pitch recently, culminating last week in federal Judge Shira Scheindlin’s grandstanding certification of a class-action lawsuit against the department for its stop-and-frisk policy — the next step toward putting the police under judicial control.

Although Commissioner Ray Kelly has announced new oversight measures for stop-and-frisks, the city’s liberal elites, elected officials and well-funded advocates plainly won’t rest until the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program is decimated.

Expect them to continue making a host of groundless arguments:

Stop-and-frisks are "racist," in the words of Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Blacks are 53 percent of stop subjects, though they are 23 percent of the city’s population. Whites are 9 percent of stop subjects, though they are 35 percent of the city’s population. Therefore, conclude Stringer and others, the NYPD targets individuals for stops based on their race rather than on crime patterns and suspicious behavior.

Here is what the anti-cop critics never divulge: Blacks are 66 percent of all violent-crime suspects, according to the victims of and witnesses to those crimes. Blacks commit around 70 percent of all robberies and about 80 percent of all shootings in the city. Add Hispanic shooters, and you account for 98 percent of all shootings in the city.

Whites, by contrast, were only 5 percent of all violent crime suspects in 2011. According to victim and witness reports, they commit barely over 1 percent of all shootings and less than 5 percent of all robberies.

Such disparities mean that the police can’t deploy their resources where people most need protection from violence — in minority neighborhoods — without producing racially disproportionate stops.

Brownsville, Brooklyn, is a particular target of the anti-police advocates for its stop rate. Why is there more enforcement activity there? Because that’s where thugs are killing people.

The per-capita shooting rate in Brownsville is 81 times higher than in nearby Bay Ridge. Last October, a 34-year-old Brownsville mother was shot to death picking up her child from elementary school; her 18-year-old assailant had been shooting wildly from a roof at rival youths.

Mothers in Bay Ridge or the Upper East Side face virtually no such risk of being shot while picking up the kids from school. If they did, the police would be scouring the streets in those neighborhoods for gang activity and questioning individuals engaged in suspicious behavior, just as they do in Brownsville.

Stop-and-frisks don’t net enough guns and are therefore ineffective.

Last year, stops yielded nearly 800 guns and over 5,000 other weapons, mostly knives. Not enough, say the advocates.

But the possibility of getting stopped has clearly deterred many gangbangers from packing heat — which is precisely the point. Harlem’s crack-dealing 137 Street Crew hired girls to carry their guns because their chance of being stopped was so low.

There are too many stops.

Compared to what? In 2011, the police made 685,000 stops. They also arrested or issued summonses to 900,000 individuals, under the much more demanding "probable-cause" standard. There is easily as much behavior in New York that meets the lower "reasonable suspicion" standard for a stop as there is behavior that justifies an arrest.

If the department’s roughly 25,000 patrol officers and detectives made just one stop a week, they’d tally 1.1 million stops.

The stops don’t produce enough arrests and are therefore mostly targeting the innocent.

Ten percent to 12 percent of stops result in an arrest or a summons. The advocates never say what a proper stop-to-arrest rate would be.

In any case, just because someone isn’t arrested or summonsed doesn’t mean that the stop didn’t deter a crime. Someone who was casing a victim for a robbery and stopped for that suspicious behavior may not have evidence of a crime on him to justify an arrest, but that stop in all likelihood prevented someone else from being victimized.

To be sure, thousands of innocent New Yorkers have been questioned by the police. Even though such stops may have been justified given the information the officer had at the time, they’re still humiliating and infuriating experiences. But if the trade-off is an increased risk of getting stopped in a high-crime neighborhood versus an increased risk of getting shot there, most people would choose the former.

New York’s proactive policing, which seeks to stop crime before it happens, has brought the longest, steepest crime drop in recorded history. No other city comes close. So far, the NYPD’s critics have failed to propose an alternative that would guarantee New York remains the safest — and, as a result, most dynamic — big city in the country.

Original Source: http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/protecting_ny_poor_19hEBAGufaLBO7QF05BsgM#ixzz1vhMKWaen

 

 
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