Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 9:31 a.m.
Not sure how the NYPD connected these two.
Yesterday, a spokesperson for the boys of blue heralded the city's low murder rate - a number that has dipped 21 percent in recent months - as a sign of victory
for their controversial stop-and-frisk policy.The procedure, attacked by City Council and the New York Civil Liberties Union alike for racial profiling, has reached an alarming rate
of use: in the first three months
of this year, 200,000 New Yorkers were touched up and down by the NYPD; a 10 percent increase from the same time last year.
Although the low murder rate is something to praise, we here at Runnin' Scared are curious to how much stop-and-frisk actually contributed to those numbers. Regardless, it's evident in the NYPD statement that the authorities have a different mentality: to protect and frisk... everyone.
Thanks to the work
of fellow Voice
writer Graham Rayman, we know that the stop-and-frisk policy came to fruition because of two reasons: the stress of filling a monthly quota and a top-down attitude from the head honcho, Mr. Ray Kelly, that encourages
officers to use it. So its ascendancy is no mystery; if your boss is all for it, you're all for it. This trickle-down mentality will naturally spread, translating into its application on anyone who has a shred of shadiness in the eyes of the police.
For example, a study by the NYCLU released
just four days ago shows this law and order semi-paranoia in full effect: in 2011, the NYPD stop-and-frisked so many young African-American men that they actually exceeded the number of that demographic in New York. In other words, either the cops stop-and-frisked every
young black man in the City twice or we are seeing signs of an authoritative obsession.
Another tidbit of crime data that came from the NYPD's statement points to another fact that helps "justify" stop-and-frisk: the past three months have seen a 31 percent increase in the amount of confiscated firearms. The agency usually takes away around 6,000 weapons a year from deemed-suspicious characters but the connection made here to stop-and-frisk evokes something even deeper.
If the NYPD has a belief that stop-and-frisks should be used and even extended, it is no surprise that the murder rate will plummet or the confiscated firearms bans will skyrocket. If everyone is a target, nobody will get away with anything. Of course, this is an ideal world, where crime is stopped before it even happens, like a bad version of Minority Report. Except it's an approach to law and enforcement that puts ordinary citizens and criminals in the same boat. And, if this statement tells us anything, it's that this boat has never been bigger.