Stop And Frisk: New York Mayor Bloomberg Cites Anecdotal Evidence In Support Of Unconstitutional Practice

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that New York City’s controversial “Stop and Frisk” program violated the constitutional rights of thousands of residents. In response, NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg holds a press conference to blast the ruling, citing anecdotal evidence in support of the unconstitutional policy.

Bloomberg said “Stop, Question, and Frisk,” which is the official name of the program, has “made New York City the safest big city in America.” He said NYC police officers don’t need to match their work with a census chart, which is another way of saying, yes, we stop blacks disproportionally. “As recently as 1990, NYC averaged more than six murders a day,” said the mayor. “Today, we’ve driven that down to less than one murder a day.”

But Bloomberg did not offer evidence to support the claim, other than lower crime rate statistics, which as you will see in a moment, was a trend long before Stop and Frisk. And as I’ve covered before, crime rates have dropped in America, across the board, for some 10, 20, sometimes 30 years depending on the specific crime.

Let’s go with the specific year that Bloomberg mentioned, 1990. In that year, there were 2,262 murders in New York City, Yeah, I know! That’s insane! But by 1998, that number had drastically shrunk to 629. Last year it was 417. So yes, murders have decreased in the time since Bloomberg took office (2003) and New York City cops went “Stop and Frisk” crazy, but the trend was already in place long before. If anything the trend has slowed quite a bit since “Stop and Frisk” started a decade ago, but of course, I’m not drawing any anecdotal conclusions here.

And you don’t have to take my word for it, you can get the data right from the New York City Police Department Crime Statistics (“CompStat, Volume 20, Number 31” PDF).

And if that’s not good enough, how about this.

New York Times — Mr. Bloomberg and his aides argue that stop-and-frisk is a legitimate police tactic. It is indisputably legal in some circumstances. It is also indisputable that the city had its sharpest drop in homicide while the police conducted far fewer stops.

In 2002, when Mr. Kelly last took office, officers stopped 97,296 New Yorkers and the city reported 587 homicides. Last year, those numbers were 685,724 and 532.

Let’s not mince words, Stop and Frisk is racial profiling, violating the constitutional rights of citizens. And it’s doing so with only anecdotal evidence in support of its effectiveness.

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