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In defense of 'stop and frisk' policing
Posted By John Rocker On 06/24/2013 @ 8:05 pm In Commentary,Opinion | No Comments
Let’s talk about New York City.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s a city that I love to visit.
Some of my favorite memories as both a Major League Baseball player and as either a tourist or traveling to the city for business purposes have involved the Big Apple.
What few people seem willing to recognize about the great city of New York is just how close to the nightmarish vision John Carpenter had for the city in “Escape From New York” was to coming to fruition.
Instead, New York City’s renaissance is the stuff city managers, tourism officials and police departments in other major American municipalities can only look upon with envy and jealousy.
In what other city do tourists eagerly depart with 5 or 10 bucks to have their pictured taken with a person dressed up as a Disney character?
Disney World or Disneyland, perhaps?
And to think, 20 to 30 years ago, much of the area around Times Square – where these costumed individuals traverse among a throng of tourists – formed the blighted, burnt-out basis for Carpenter’s vision for the future of the city.
Just as the brave individuals who comprise the New York City Fire Department answered the call on 9/11, many giving their lives in the pursuit of rescuing others in the ruins of the World Trade Center, much of the city’s turnaround can be attributed to the fine men in blue – the New York City Police Department.
For all those people working for Fortune 100 companies based in New York City, participating in the stock exchange on Wall Street, traveling into the city for sporting events, musical concerts, or a Broadway play know that your ability to do all of these things is predicated upon a city free from crime or the fear of being the victim of a mugging.
Though it’s a utopian dream to believe a city can free from all crime, the NYPD has done an incredible job in making sure residents, people traveling to the city on business and tourists feel safe.
In a city that never sleeps, having a police force of 33,000 individuals is a good first step to creating a climate where fear of crime (be it petty or violent) isn’t the first thought on people’s minds.
One of the tools/police tactics that has helped clean up the city is a policy under intense attack from the type of people who would gladly drop Paula Deen off in the streets of Harlem at midnight, with only her “white privilege” as a defense.
“Stop and Frisk.”
Mention that phrase and every talking head on MSNBC immediately goes into a fit of righteous indignation; never mind this policy has contributed to high residential real estate values in the city and directly led to safer streets for these same holier-than-thou liberals to ensure their “carbon footprint” is at a minimum because they can safely walk down streets.
“Stop and Frisk.”
It’s a policy that allows the NYPD officer who reasonably suspects a person has committed or is on the verge of committing a felony or misdemeanor to stop and question that person; and, if the officer believes the suspect is capable of inflicting physical injury to them, they have the ability to frisk them for weapons.
Though New York City has watched the murder tally tick lower and lower each year “Stop and Frisk” has been a tactic police can use, the MSNBC crowd and Rev. Al Sharpton have declared war on it.
Though all New Yorkers – and those visiting the city – can thank “Stop and Frisk” from the dystopian future Carpenter had for the city when he cast Kurt Russell as Snake Plissken back in 1981, Sharpton sees this policy as just another battle on the civil rights front that must be overcome.
Sharpton wouldn’t be bothered by the news “Stop and Frisk” has made New York City a safer place to be if you are a racial minority. Heather Mac Donald pointed out this fact in a recent Wall Street Journal column, which offered the type of fact that should derail the vitriolic rhetoric of a guy like Sharpton (unfortunately, he’s only interested in self-promotion instead of promoting what is best for the community he ostensibly defends):
“The biggest beneficiaries of a dramatically safer New York have been law-abiding residents of formerly crime-plagued areas. Minorities make up nearly 80 percent of the drop in homicide victims since the early 1990s. New York policing has transformed inner-city neighborhoods and allowed their hardworking members a once-unthinkable freedom from fear.”
We live in a society where any policy that directly enhances the quality of life for all law-abiding citizens (regardless of race) is somehow the manifestation of all that is evil if it dares harm the quality of life for those who don’t abide by the law.
In the same Mac Donald column, she discusses the lawsuit Floyd v. New York, which threatens to shelf the “Stop and Frisk” policy at a time when it should be exported to cities like Chicago.
The primary reason for the suit? The “Stop and Frisk” tactics are discriminatory, because the majority of those stopped and frisked are non-white.
Reason means nothing in America anymore, and the fact that non-whites are committing the bulk of the crime (and that non-whites are the victims in the bulk of the crime) in New York is inadmissible as a defense of the tactic.
Mac Donald writes about this cry of discrimination:
“The claim ignores the reality that the preponderance of crime perpetrators, and victims, in New York are also minorities. Blacks, for example, constituted 78 percent of shooting suspects and 74 percent of all shooting victims in 2012, even though they are less than 23 percent of the city’s population.
“Whites, by contrast, committed just over 2 percent of shootings and were under 3 percent of shooting victims in 2012, though they are 35 percent of the populace. Young black men in New York are 36 times more likely to be murdered than young white men – and their assailants are virtually always other black (or Hispanic) males.
“Given such a crime imbalance, if the NYPD focuses its resources where people most need protection, the effort will inevitably produce racially disparate enforcement data. Blacks, at 55 percent of all police-stop subjects in 2012, are actually understopped compared with their 66 percent representation among violent criminals.”
New York City is a safer place for all people (regardless of race) because of “Stop and Frisk.”
If it is ruled “discriminatory” and thrown out, well, those Disney characters in Times Square will be a thing of the past.
Imagine an NYC without this tactic, and you wouldn’t be that far away from the world John Carpenter envisioned for the future of the city.
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