NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) –– There has been a curious development in the city’s controversial stop-and-frisk program. The number of stops has dropped dramatically — but crime has continued to fall.
It may come under the law of startling developments.
While the city’s stop-and-frisk program is literally on trial in federal court and is eating up much of the air in the mayoral campaign, word has come down that when cops stopped doing it so much; those committing crimes also stopped doing it so much.
CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer tried to get an explanation for the new trend from NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly on Tuesday.
Kramer: “I wonder how you explain the fact while stop-and-frisk numbers are down 51 percent, murder is also down 30 percent and crime is down 2.7 percent?”
Kelly: “Because it’s a lot more than stop and frisk we’re doing. I mean, people want to simplify it and say that’s why crime is down. Of course not. It’s simply a tool in the toolbox.”
The NYPD’s own statistics show that murder rates and crime fell for the first three months of the year even though officers conducted 99,788 from between Jan. 1 and March 31, compared to 203,500 stops for the same period in 2013, Kramer reported.
“We are doing a lot more. We have ‘Operation: Crew Cut, a whole host of initiatives that address the crime issue, but some people want to make it a one-issue matter. It’s more complex than that,” Kelly said.
Donna Lieberman of the of the New York Civil Liberties Union said that what the stop- and-frisk data shows is that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s claim that without high stop-and-frisk numbers crime will skyrocket — is false.
“I think the mayor ought to stop trying to scare people into accepting a pattern of police behavior that acts as if the Police Department is above the law and some people’s constitutional rights just don’t matter,” Lieberman said.
Bloomberg disagreed with that missive, saying instead stop and frisk was working precisely as intended, as a deterrent.
“That’s great. That’s why we have the lowest percentage of teens carrying guns in the country. Remember, there’s plenty of independent studies. Our kids are carrying fewer guns. Why? Because of aggressive police work within the restrictions of the law,” Bloomberg said. “Teens know that they may be stopped if an officer observes them carrying a gun, so fewer carry.”
The reduced stops also resulted in a 43 percent drop in the number of guns cops took off the streets.
As mentioned earlier, stop and frisk has become a hot-button issue in the race for mayor.
Most of the Democrats running say changes need to be made in Kelly’s policies, but Bloomberg defended his police commissioner.
“Who do you want to trust in terms of setting our policy when it comes to policing strategies? Him, or a bunch of arm-chair critics and ideologues? I know who I want to trust,” Bloomberg said.
Stop and frisk has been criticized, because since 2002 85 percent of those stopped were either black or Hispanic and most of them were released without being charged.
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