Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio says he wants to keep crime down. The bloodshed in Bryant Park on Saturday night should remind him how hard that could be to do, unless hes willing to break with his anti-policing allies.
"Public safety is a prerequisite for the thriving neighborhoods that create opportunity," de Blasio said Tuesday night.
He could have been talking about the area around Bryant Park.
Midtown and Midtown South are among the citys fastest-growing areas, with the population up 10.9 percent from 2000 to 2010, five times the growth in the rest of the city. The number of children under 5 has soared 41.9 percent.
Why? Look at the crime stats. Midtown South saw eight murders in 1990; four in 2001. Last year? One. And it had 4,227 robberies in 1990. Last year, 183.
Saturdays robbery-cum-shooting was an aberration — but making it an aberration took a lot of work.
Consider: Corey Dunton, 16, reportedly went out armed looking for trouble. He allegedly tried to bully a young man, Javier Contreras, out of his jacket. Contreras ignored him — so Dunton allegedly shot him and another bystander, 14-year-old Adonis Mera, who may be paralyzed.
Targeting alleged criminals like Dunton and their behavior patterns — and stopping, questioning and frisking such characters — took 780 illegal guns off the streets in 2011, preventing other such tragedies.
Dunton made his way from The Bronx to Midtown toting such a concealed illegal handgun. He either had to walk to public transportation or sit in a car and make his way through traffic.
Any furtive movement or behavior — using his arms to keep a weapon from slipping, etc. — was a chance for police to stop, question and frisk him — and find his gun.
Last year, of the 532,911 stops the police made based on "reasonable suspicion," the No. 1 suspected crime was weapons possession.
Most stops dont yield a weapon. To stop-and-frisk opponents, thats "proof" of the need to "end" the practice — an effort de Blasio supports.
In fact, it proves that deterrence works. New York City teens carry handguns at less than half the national rate — 2.3 percent of teens vs. 5.1 percent. The figures down 36 percent since 2001 — with murders falling by 35.7 percent over the same period.
What about the fact that 87 percent of those stopped are black or Hispanic? Sadly, that only fits the sad fact that black and Hispanic people, mostly young men, comprise 90 percent of crime suspects. (And crime victims are usually minority, too.)
Do cops make bad stops? Sure. Is the 5,000-cop drop in the NYPDs headcount partly behind a six-fold increase in the number of stops over 12 years, as the remaining cops must be more aggressive? Sure.
But if you want to keep crime down, as de Blasio says, how else are you going to do it? The anti-friskers cant point to a major American city thats used a different strategy than New Yorks to achieve lower violent-crime rates than ours — fewer than five murders per 100,000 residents.
And its hard not to appreciate the cops job.
Saturday afternoon in Times Square, a few hours before the shooting, two young men stood on the sidewalk, scamming tourists. Their game is to force tourists to take a CD, as if it is a free sample; then they chase after the tourists, bullying them into making a $10 donation. One woman said she felt like she had been mugged.
Should a cop have stopped, questioned and frisked the two hawkers? Absolutely — though the stop might well have yielded nothing on paper — a hardworking entrepreneur selling his music, your honor, harassed by the police.
Consider, then, the Sunday Posts account of a judge who made fun of cops for arresting a suspected Times Square prostitute. The judge noted that the cops used her attire as evidence, though she was wearing skinny jeans like lots of women.
Read the whole account, though, and its clear the cops werent crazy to cuff the lady: She had a long prostitution rap sheet, and she was talking to a procession of strange men on the street.
Maybe de Blasio will be a more competent manager than Bloomberg — cutting stops while cutting crime, all with a bare-bones NYPD because the skyrocketing cost of pension and health benefits prevents us from hiring more officers.
If so, terrific.
If not, hell have to learn to ignore the cries of "racism" — just as Bloomberg did.
Otherwise, well hear soon enough what people said about Bryant Park in 1991. "I stopped going there" before the parks three-year closure, one local worker told The New York Times. "It was too dangerous."
Original Source: http://nypost.com/2013/11/12/bryant-parks-lesson-for-de-blasio/