NY Daily News Admits It Got It All Wrong When Declaring Crime Increases Would Follow Stop-And-Frisk Decision
from the nice-to-see dept
When federal judge Shira Scheindlin ordered a number of stop-and-frisk reforms three years ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and NYPD Chief Ray Kelly both predicted a drop in unconstitutional stops would result in a dramatic rise in criminal activity.
We, unlike many countries, want to keep all of our citizens safe, and keep the crime rate down and make sure that they get home and go to court and protect themselves — unlike other countries in the world.
I wouldn’t want to be responsible for a lot of people dying.
[N]o question about it —violent crime will go up…
The New York Daily News often provided a platform for NYPD officials who were quick to blame any increase in crime on the decline in stops.
“We’re struggling with homicides and shootings,” NYPD Chief of Department James O’Neill said Monday. “As we expect when warm weather comes, we see an increase in certain crimes.”
O’Neill laid out the grim numbers during a press conference at 1 Police Plaza, revealing a 19.5% spike in homicides during the first five months of the year. There were 135 murders through Sunday compared to 113 at the same time last year.
Despite the increase in shootings and homicides, overall crime was down 6.6% through Sunday compared with the same period last year.
[S]ome officers believe the jump in killings can be linked to the NYPD’s new restrictions on stop-and-frisk.
“It’s because they changed the stop-and-frisk criteria,” one high-ranking police source told The News. “Before I would have said, ‘This guy right here by the way he’s adjusting his pants and moving around I would stop him.’ Now that’s not enough to stop a person so these guys get away with a gun.”
Tempered with reality:
While murders and shootings have increased, overall crime in the city is down by 10%, statistics show.
It’s one thing to report on the NYPD’s dissatisfaction with the new, court-ordered status quo. It’s quite another to make it the publication’s official stance. This is exactly what the New York Daily News did after Judge Scheindlin’s order was handed down.
By imposing a monitor on the NYPD, she has rushed headlong into commandeering how the department polices the city with, she admitted, no concern about endangering life and limb.
Make no mistake — Scheindlin has put New York directly in harm’s way with a ruling that threatens to push the city back toward the ravages of lawlessness and bloodshed.
Most publications would simply let their bad judgment call recede into the past without comment, even after their assertions have been proven wrong. The NY Daily News should be commended for not only admitting its mistake, but publishing an entire editorial detailing just how wrong it was.
As many readers will know, the Daily News Editorial Board supported the NYPD’s strategy as essential to public safety. We also expressed fear that forcing the department to pull back could seriously harm public safety.
In other pieces, we predicted a rising body count from an increase in murders.
We are delighted to say that we were wrong.
The NYPD began scaling back stops under Kelly before Scheindlin’s decision and accelerated the trend under Commissioner Bill Bratton. As a result, the number of stops reported by cops fell 97% from a high of 685,700 in 2011 to 22,900 in 2015.
Not only did crime fail to rise, New York hit record lows.
The murder count stood at 536 in 2010 and at 352 last year — and seems sure to drop further this year. There were 1,471 shooting incidents in 2010 (1,773 victims). By 2015, shootings had dropped to 1,130 (1, 339 victims).
The NY Daily News should be praised for this editorial… but not too effusively. There’s still quite a bit of hedging in its blown call admission. The Scheindlin decision somehow remains “flawed,” despite its largest supposed flaw (“crime will rise!”) being nonexistent. The editorial also hands the NYPD almost all of the credit for the continued decrease in crime, even though it was the NYPD itself that claimed that a transformed stop-and-frisk program would result in a new wave of criminal terror sweeping New York.
Regardless, there can be little doubt that the NYPD’s increasing reliance on so-called precision policing — knowing whom to target, when and where — has played a key role.
Maybe. Maybe not. The NY Daily News has no way of determining this. It admits that “explaining crime trends is extraordinarily difficult” while in the same breath (so to speak) hands credit to the NYPD for the continued drop in crime rates.
But it is something rarely seen: a publication that often seems to act as an unofficial mouthpiece for the NYPD admitting it didn’t know what it was talking about when it parroted Mayor Bloomberg’s and Chief Ray Kelly’s hyperbole following the Scheindlin decision.