Every week since August 27, just after the landmark court ruling which created a monitor for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program in the face of heavy opposition from Mayor Bloomberg, the mayor’s press office has been sending out a subtle reminder about the still-dropping crime rate.
The most recent one, which we received today, reported that there have been just 242 murders in the city so far this year, 87 fewer than at this point last year. (2012 had a record low in homicides.)
From the outside, it looks a little bit like the mayor is telling critics of the NYPD, “Hey, let’s just keep this in perspective.” The release goes on to note that firearm homicides make up more than half of all murders for the year. That line seems aimed directly at stop-and-frisk critics.
Bloomberg and New York Police Department Commissioner Ray Kelly assert that stop-and-frisk prevents criminal from carrying their guns. This week’s statement says that the number of firearm homicides is actually down by 30 percent compared to last year–a way of saying that stop-and-frisk works. And it notes that there have been 260 fewer shootings this year than last year.
Critics have cited numbers showing the percentage of gun seizures via stop and frisk are extremely low. And they have noted that homicides and shootings continue to decline even as the total annual number of stop-and-frisks has also dropped.
So what’s the purpose of the weekly reminder? Bloomberg’s deputy press secretary, Kamran Mumtaz, tells us, “We’ve been talking about the issue every week, so we decided to make it a formal, weekly distribution.”