Ray Kelly arrived at Brown University yesterday prepared to speak about the “proactive policing” policies he has implemented as NYPD commissioner, including stop-and-frisk.
Brown students, it’s clear from video shot in the auditorium yesterday, were equally prepared to keep him from speaking. Every time Kelly started a sentence — as soon as he started it — he was shouted down by protesters reading their own prepared remarks, also on the topic of stop-and-frisk.
Trying to control the crowd at one point, Margaret Klawunn, vice president for campus life and student services at Brown, told the students, “It has to be a basic principle of this university that we allow for free speech.”
“Whose free speech?!” the crowd shouted back.
After several unsuccessful attempts to placate the protestors, Klawunn told everyone to go home while Kelly stood off to one side, shifting uncomfortably from one foot to the other.
Here’s a video of the incident, courtesy of the Brown Political Review.
And another, courtesy of the Brown Daily Herald.
In a letter sent out yesterday, Brown president Christina Paxson called the protest “a sad day for the Brown community.” She added she would be reaching out to Kelly “to convey my deepest regret for the manner in which he was treated on our campus this afternoon.”
The full remarks Kelly intended to give yesterday were obtained by the Daily News.
One week ago today, I attended breakfast with an inspiring group of women who are part of a program the NYPD started in Brooklyn called Grandmothers’ Love Over Violence.
We hold a breakfast for them on the third Tuesday of every month. At this month’s breakfast, as I often do, I spoke to a grandmother by the name of Denise Peace. Denise is the mother of Zurana Horton.
Two years ago, Zurana was picking up one of her 12 children from school in Brownsville, Brooklyn, when a gunman involved in a gang dispute opened fire from a rooftop at rivals on the street below. Instinctively, Zurana immediately shielded several of the children around her. In the hail of bullets, she was tragically struck and killed. Her mother, Denise, is caring for five of Zurana’s children, and the rest (are being cared for) by other family members.
The NYPD is determined to do everything in its power to prevent tragedies like this from happening again. Our grandmothers program is part of a wider initiative called the NYPD-Brooklyn Clergy Coalition. We partner with a group of more than two dozen prominent African-American religious leaders in Brooklyn to reduce violent crime.
In the year after we formed our clergy partnership, murders in Brooklyn fell to their lowest level in 50 years. Homicides in the particular area of Brooklyn in which the coalition is concentrated fell by four times the citywide average. The decline in murders of young black men, ages 16 to 37, in neighborhoods where coalition churches are located was even more dramatic: 33%.
This is a textbook example of what we mean by the term proactive policing.
Essentially, it is the opposite of reactive policing — in which the police only respond to emergency calls, show up at the scene and take reports.
I believe the police must do more than just respond to radio calls. In partnership with the community, we need to do more to prevent crime from happening in the first place.
Since 2002, that is exactly what the NYPD has done. In my judgment, it’s a big reason for the progress we’ve made.
We are the largest police department in the country, with 35,000 police officers and another 15,000 civilians. That’s about three times the size of the next largest police department, which is Chicago’s. We’re big because we have to be. We police a city of 8.4 million people, 10 million during the work week. In 1990 homicides peaked at 2,245. Last year we had 419. That’s the lowest murder total in at least half a century.
It’s important to note that this has taken place even as New York City added a million more people since 1990.
Why do I say at least? Because prior to the early 1960s, the homicide numbers were not accurately kept — there were probably more than were recorded.
Murders are down another 25% this year. At the current rate, we’ll have about 330, which is the lowest since the 1950s when Dwight Eisenhower was President.
Shootings are down by 74% over the last 20 years, which is when we first began compiling this data. We see virtually the same reduction in shooting victims.
We’ve made significant gains in recent years. The difference in the murder total between the past 11 years and nine months of Mayor Bloomberg’s administration compared to the 11 years and nine months before that is 9,172 fewer murders.
Why has crime continued to go down?
When we graduate new police officers from our police academy, we assign most, if not all of them, to designated impact zones for a period of six months. We put these officers with experienced supervisors and deploy them in large numbers. In some zones, we’ve driven crime down by 30%.
One year ago, we launched Operation Crew Cut, after our analysis showed that 30% of shootings in New York City can be traced to so-called “crews.” These are loosely affiliated gangs, mainly composed of young teens, who engage in retaliatory violence in and around public housing and elsewhere.
And we utilize the long-established right of the police to stop and question individuals about whom we have reasonable suspicion. In some cases in which a weapon is suspected, the officer will take the additional step of doing a limited pat down of the person. Last year, stops resulted in the seizure of more than 7,000 illegal weapons, mostly knives, as well as 800 guns.
I can’t say it more emphatically — this tactic is lifesaving, and the effect is felt most profoundly in minority communities. Last year, black and Hispanic New Yorkers made up 87% of all murder victims and 96% of all shooting victims.
By concentrating our resources in those areas where they’re needed most, we’ve been able to sharply reduce the number of young minority lives lost to violence.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on October 30, 2013