A federal judge, civil-liberties groups and countless elected officials are all seeking to micromanage how the NYPD polices the streets of New York’s minority neighborhoods. The thugs must be feeling the love.
Yes, the stop-and-frisk experience has soured some young people —but they’re alive to complain. Without the tactic, many more young people would be in their graves today.
Many have made that point, but the Rev. Floyd Flake this week brought it home by recalling the victims of gun violence that he’s had to bury. Like many of us, he has some problems with the policy — but “in southeast Queens, it is not what I’d call a top-shelf issue,” as he said on NY1.
That fits with my experience in The Bronx. I’ve sat in at my share of meetings of the local police community council, and I don’t recall anyone ever asking our precinct commander to reduce stop-and-frisks. Most attendees wanted more patrols, and/or to get their buildings into the NYPD’s Clean Halls program (itself the subject of another civil-rights lawsuit).
Even in crime-ridden neighborhoods, most people are law-abiding — and want the criminal element driven out. Yes, that’s true of black and Hispanic residents, too.
Many are willing to take the risk of having their grandsons stopped by police.
Yes, the stop-and-frisk numbers are unconscionably high. But neighborhoods that have the most stops are all high-crime areas, with heavy narcotics trafficking and drug-related shootings.
Midtown precincts conduct fewer stops than Bed-Stuy for good reason. Few people are murdered on Broadway or Park Avenue. (And isn’t it interesting that even the critics don’t allege that only minorities get stopped in mainly-white precincts?)
I’m sure there is some room for changes — but I’m frankly a little worried about Police Commissioner Ray Kelly’s retreat, requiring officers to give “information cards” to persons stopped and providing high-risk individuals with federally funded “guidance and social services.”
That sounds a lot like the fuzzy-headed liberal approach that Rudy Giuliani criticized recently.
Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer has proposed switching to an approach modeled on the Operation Ceasefire program in Chicago. We’re told the program succeeded — but minorities in Chicago suffer much higher rates of murder and other crime than we do here in New York. It seems little more than an “Angels With Dirty Faces” approach to juvenile crime —and hardly a strategy for dealing with sociopaths.
Calling in and sitting down with known offenders and “high-risk” youths to lay down the law was what the dean of students did at my intermediate school. A few kids were indeed scared straight. But the sociopaths didn’t care then — and still don’t today.
Guidance and social programs make sense for juvenile offenders, drug users, shoplifters and graffiti vandals. But drug dealers, murderers, thugs and criminals need incarceration.
Sooner or later, a thug will be caught after shooting and killing a grandmother, bodega worker or cop — and turn out to have one of those “information cards” in his pocket. I hope the public hears about it —especially that portion of the public that’s so eager to end stop-and-frisk.
We hear a lot about stop-and-frisk being a violation of rights — but it’s all about the NYPD working to protect the most fundamental liberty of residents of high-crime neighborhoods, namely the right to be safe on our streets.
Judge Shira Scheindlin, in allowing a lawsuit to proceed against stop-and-frisk, referred to protecting the rights of minorities against the powerful — yet law-abiding citizens have an equally inalienable right to be free and secure in their persons from street thugs, who, if not checked by the police, can become the neighborhood powers.
Yes, police officers must respect the rights of the law-abiding to walk their neighborhoods unmolested. But they are not “Bowery Boys” cops, and should be allowed to use the tactics that keep our streets safe.