Giuliani argues that the stop-and-frisk policy he instated as Mayor has helped decrease crime in New York City:The former NYC mayor and 2008 Republican presidential candidate told the Washington Examiner's Byron York in a piece published Tuesday that he "was elected for one reason, to reduce crime." But Giuliani expressed dismay that the Democratic candidates largely oppose the city's controversial "stop-and-frisk" practice, which started under his watch and has continued under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
"That indicates to me that they have lost the public safety imperative that I had and that Mike had," Giuliani said. - TPM, 6/4/13
Oh really, Rudy? Stop-and-frisk has helped decrease crime, huh? Well lets look at the news shall we?It was a huge victory for Giuliani's smart and aggressive police policies, and it lasted into his second term. Then Michael Bloomberg became mayor and built on many of Giuliani's policies, with much success himself. Now New Yorkers are preparing to choose what might be called their first post-Giuliani mayor, and there are fears of a return to the bad old days.
"Back at the turn of the 1990s, New York City was a mess," Time magazine's Joe Klein wrote recently. "Crime was rampant. The schools were dreadful ... . The mayor was an incompetent. And, above all, the city was run for the benefit of its employees rather than its citizens."
"What followed was 20 years of governance by moderate Republicans, Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg," Klein continued. "Crime is now at an historic low. The city is booming. There have been improvements in the schools ..." But now, Klein concluded, the liberal Democrats vying to succeed Bloomberg "threaten to return the city to the horrors of the David Dinkins era."
I read part of Klein's assessment to Giuliani when we met at a conference in upstate New York on Monday. "He's absolutely right," Giuliani said. On crime specifically, Giuliani worried that the "broken windows" theory -- the idea that a city needs to go after small infractions as energetically as more serious offenses -- is not doctrine among today's Democratic mayoral candidates. Giuliani also worries that the high-tech data system he installed for tracking and responding to crime could fall into decline. And he particularly worries about the fate of stop-and-frisk, which he started and Bloomberg continued.
Most of the current Democratic candidates oppose stop-and-frisk. "That indicates to me that they have lost the public safety imperative that I had and that Mike had," says Giuliani.
One reason stop-and-frisk is so important, he explained, is that it amounts to "gun control for bad guys." Compared to other cities -- particularly Chicago, now in the grips of a homicide epidemic -- "we stop a lot more people, we question a lot more people, and consequently we take more guns out of the hands of bad people." - Washington Examiner, 6/3/13
Plus this just happened:The FBI says that violent crime rose across the United States last year.
The information came from the preliminary annual crime report the agency compiles.
The report, issued Monday, shows a 1.2 percent increase in the number of violent crimes in 2012.
The report is based on information the FBI gathered from 13,770 law enforcement agencies that submitted data.
According to the statistics, murder and manslaughter were up 1.5 percent. Aggravated assault was up 1.7 percent. Robbery was up 0.6 percent.
The report found that violent crime was up in metropolitan areas and was down in rural areas.
Violent crime increased 3.7 percent in cities with populations of 500,000 to 999,999, the largest increase in the city groupings, according to the report.
Murder rates were up more than 10 percent in mid-sized cities, designated with populations between 500,000 to 999,000. - WNYW 5.2, 6/3/13
The weather's helped decrease crime more than stop-and-frisk. Plus this has been going on for quite a bit:As weekend temperatures soared over 90 degrees Fahrenheit, New York City saw a sudden increase in shootings, with 26 people felled by bullets in 72 hours -- seven fatally.
"When we have hot temperatures, we see that the crime rate seems to go up," New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Monday.
But Bloomberg emphasized that for the year, shootings are down in the city -- 127 since January 1, which is 40 less than the same period in 2012.
"One shooting is one too many, but last week we had the fewest shootings in a decade, including this weekend's shootings," Bloomberg noted.
A professor says the heat index and the crime rate can connect.
"Lifestyle differences exist between cold weather and warm weather," says James Alan Fox, a professor of Criminology, Law and Public Policy at Northeastern University in Boston.
Fox has conducted research on the possible connection between temperature and crime. His findings illustrate how these lifestyle differences can contribute to varying levels of violent crime.
"In cold weather, particularly in blizzards, people stay indoors, and the violent crime rate is lower. When the weather is warm, people are interacting more with others, be they friends, family, or strangers, so there are increased opportunities for conflict," Fox says. - CNN, 6/3/13
Also, it hasn't been as successful of a policy as Rudy is trying to make it out to be:Days after New York's gay community rallied against the recent spate of violence across the city, local police say that the number of antigay hate crimes have doubled from 14 to 29 so far this year.
Acts of violence, and verbal assault are on the rise particularly in Queens and the Bronx, according to the New York City Anti-Violence Project. For example, WNYC reports that the workers and patrons of Lucho's Sports Club, a gay Latino club in Queens, are often the target of harassment late at night.
Meanwhile, one of the latest targets of an antigay hate crime in New York was activist Eugene Lovendusky of Queens, who was attacked in Manhattan alongside his boyfriend. - The Advocate, 5/28/13
Plus if the policy is so popular, than why is Democratic Mayoral candidate, William Thompson, lagging in the polls? Because stop-and-frisk targets mainly minorities:Councilman Williams, an outspoken advocate against the department's abundant use of stop-and-frisk, argued that there exists no concrete connection between increased use of the measure and cessation of crime. Moreover, he said, officials are constantly shifting the explanation for the purpose of stop-and-frisk, first claiming it was a tool for removing guns from the street, then that it was to prevent shootings and finally, that it was to lower the murder rate.
"They show the numbers, and say 'Look what we’re doing,' but they don’t tell you the cost of what we're doing," he said. "Stop-and-frisk has been an abject failure."
Williams also added that more guns are taken off the street from police sponsored buy-backs than random stops, 50 percent of which are made on the basis of "furtive movements."
"I have Tourettes—all I do is make 'furtive movements,' " he joked.
Alex Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College, argued that the method is being overused. Many of the stops have no solid legal footing, he said, and rather than being based on "individualized reasonable suspicion," officers are simply blanketing specific areas, a practice the Supreme Court has ruled is unconstitutional.
"[The city] says 'Well, the stops mirror the race of alleged suspects in a serious crime.' But that’s not how the stops are being used. It’s not about stopping individuals who are believed to be wanted for a particular crime," he said. "It’s a broad, risk-based, place-oriented form of stopping, where officers are told, 'Go out and stop everybody in this place at this time of day who is, say, a young man. We need to have a more nuanced approach."
Williams acknowledged that he was not opposed to stop-and-frisk, as a tool, but rather, its overly aggressive implementation.
"It needs to be there so police officers can do their jobs," he said. But I’m against the current policy of stop, question and frisk that is not constitutional. It's not even a deterrent." - The Gothamist, 5/9/13
Some people like Police Officer Pedro Serrano, have even tried to step up and either change how the stop-and-frisk policy is initiated or even put an end to it:Even as he won the endorsement of two prominent black leaders, William Thompson’s moderate stance on stop-and-frisk policing caused him a new political headache in the black community.
Brooklyn City Council candidate Kirsten John Foy said Monday he will not collect signatures to help get Thompson on the Democratic primary ballot for mayor because of Thompson’s pledge to keep the police tactic.
“I consider him a good man, but I think he’s on the wrong side of history,” said Foy.
Foy has been a vocal advocate for police reform since his controversial detention by police alongside City Councilman Jumaane Williams at the 2011 West Indian American Day Carnival Parade.
“The civil rights community has made it clear: Stop, question and frisk is at the top of its agenda, and Mr. Thompson has shunned that. He’s going to be a fourth term of (Mayor) Bloomberg in terms of policing. We don’t need a fourth term in terms of anything.” - New York Daily News, 6/3/13
So yeah, either changing how stop-and-frisk is initiated or even getting rid of it won't cause crime to spike. I've made it no secret that I am supporting Anthony Weiner in his bid for Mayor of New York City. Weiner has also been a harsh critic of the stop-and-frisk laws:Despite Serrano’s initial worries about testifying, when he got his turn on the stand later that day, he was surprisingly calm; it felt good to share his experiences in a courtroom packed with lawyers and reporters and spectators. Before, he’d been just another anonymous cop with a stash of secret recordings and piles of typed notes. Now everyone was listening to him.
His testimony stretched over two days. Serrano explained to Judge Shira A. Scheindlin how, in his view, around 2007, the 4-0’s bosses had ratcheted up the pressure, shifting from what he called a “soft quota” to a hard quota, from a suggestion of how many summonses or stop-and-frisks the cops should do—to a number that they had to hit, or else be punished.
“It’s not good to tell cops: ‘Make sure you find it,’ ” he said. “Because if they don’t find it, what’s left? If the bad guy is not there, who is left? The good people. And you got to hammer them.”
The only time he became emotional was when his lawyer asked him why he’d come to testify. “Well, Judge, it’s very simple,” he said. “I have children. I try to be a decent person. You have got to excuse me. Whenever I talk about my kids …” He paused for a moment, trying to blink back tears. “As a Hispanic, walking in the Bronx, I have been stopped many times. It’s not a good feeling. I promised as an officer I would respect everyone to the best of my abilities. I just want to do the right thing. That’s all.” - New York Magazine, 5/9/13
By the way, for those of you who still think that the whole "Twitter scandal" has negatively hurt Weiner's image, you're wrong about that:“Frankly, if you don’t have a thick skin—and I’ve developed an almost rhinocerosly thick skin going through this process—then you probably shouldn’t put yourself up for office, particularly if you want to be mayor,” said Mr. Weiner. “I certainly understand completely, Mark, that people have some pretty tough things to say to me, and I’ve certainly seen them all.”
But he also offered harsh words for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, saying that–while he had helped to unify the city and curb the “palpable” racial tensions post-Giuliani–in some ways, the city was worse off.
“The solutions to many of the city’s biggest problems have not been met, and frankly, in many ways the city is in a worse position,” he said, pointing to growing economic disparities, the growing poverty rate and “an education system that’s not much better” despite a huge spike in spending. “So the record is mixed.”
And on public safety issues, he said that he would not keep on Police Commissioner Ray Kelly—but nonetheless praised the city’s top cop.
“No disrespect intended to him,” he said, but argued that—just like the police department rotates precinct commanders—the city would benefit from a new perspective.
“You always want fresh eyes,” he said. “I think he’s done a good job … but I think that, frankly, some of the policies need to change, and I think having a fresh perspective would be helpful.”
Still, he said, if elected, he’d love to have Mr. Kelly continue to serve in another capacity. Mr. Weiner has said he is favor of stop-and-frisk, but argues the stops need to be done more carefully—“if for no other reason,” he said, “then it’s reversing this sense that we actually have an improvement in the way that persons of color looked at their government. That’s getting eroded by the stop-and-frisk policy and it really needs to change.”
He also bemoaned the number of meals served to homeless children living in city: “It’s a crime,” he said. - Politicker, 5/31/13
If you'd like to get involved with Weiner's campaign, you can do so here:An interesting aspect of the poll was how the opinions of Weiner skewed by gender, or rather how they didn't. I figured women would be more likely to hold negative views of Weiner than men, due to the undertones of sexual coercion inherent in his tweeting photos of his erection. And they do—but not by much. Forty-four percent of New York's women, according to the poll, hold an unfavorable opinion of Weiner, which is a lot, but then again, 43 percent of men do, too. Fifty-six percent of men think he "deserves a second chance" (whatever that means) but so too do 51 percent of women. - The Atlantic, 6/4/13