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.

More NYPD opinions:

[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.

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Comments on “NY Daily News Admits It Got It All Wrong When Declaring Crime Increases Would Follow Stop-And-Frisk Decision”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Judge Shira Scheindlin retirement

This ‘news’ has aged a bit, but Techdirt readers may have missed it…

• “Shira Scheindlin, the Manhattan judge who ordered NYPD to reform stop-and-frisk tactics, stepping down”, by Victoria Bekiempis and Dareh Gregorian, New York Daily News, Mar 23, 2016

The New York Law Journal, which first reported her departure, said her last day on the bench will be April 28.

• “Departing Judge Offers Blunt Defense of Ruling in Stop-and-Frisk Case”, by Benjamin Weiser, New York Times, May 2, 2016

• “Shira Scheindlin’s proud of her disgraceful judicial career”, by Post Editorial Board, New York Post, May 3, 2016

Anonymous Coward says:

“Unlike other countries”. Well, based on that you should NOT use stop and frisk. I am visiting the US now, and I am now, statistically, FOUR times more likely to be murdered then at home. Yeah, I don’t think random stops are really the solution after all.

And really, “guy adjusting his pants”??? HOW can that be a cause for search? I adjust my pants at least five times a day, and have never even owned a gun. If that is a cause for search, why even bother with cause?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I am visiting the US now, and I am now, statistically, FOUR times more likely to be murdered then at home.

The Most Dangerous Countries for Tourists, in Maps”, by Olga Khazan, The Atlantic, Apr 2, 2013

Statistics for attacks on tourists are hard to come by, but one way to look at travel risks is through the travel warnings that governments issue for their citizens. Here’s a map put together by the CBC, based on warnings from Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs . . .

World travel map: dangerous destinations and safer spots

Safety warnings and advice for Canadians from the Canadian government

These are foreign travel recommendations and warnings for Canadians from the government of Canada as of February 2014. Click on any country for more details.

“Statistics for attacks on tourists are hard to come by.” Where did you get your “FOUR times” statistic from?

Coyne Tibbets (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I want to know where those stats came from, too. According to this page the U.S. homicide rate per 100,000 per year is 12,996; and for Canada, 554. That’s makes it at least 23 times as risky to be in the United States.

Let’s just leave it that he got his figures from some other site with an axe to grind, like this one.

(12,996 per 100,000 per year!…one in 8!…every family be missing multiple people…whole towns wiped out…idiots…mutter, mutter…)

JoeCool (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You read that wrong – 12,996 is NOT the rate, it was the total. The rate was 4.2. For the same year, the rate for Canada was 1.6, or 2.65X as likely… but the figures are LOW, so you aren’t likely to be killed at all. Also take into account that the vast majority of those killings in the US were criminals killing other criminals and your likelihood of being killed on vacation in the US is too low to consider.

Bergman (profile) says:

Reducing crime by drastically increasing it!

The thing many people forget is that any constitutional or civil rights violation you could sue police over and win under Title 42, Section 1983 is ALSO a criminal act — complete with prison time if convicted — under Title 18, Sections 241 and 242.

Every time a police officer makes an unconstitutional stop, the number of crimes increments up by at least one. With the rate at which they stop actual criminals by doing stop and frisks, they could reduce crimes overall by ending the stop and frisk program.

I seem to recall reading somewhere that the stop & frisk program has something like a 5% or 10% success rate — success defined as finding a crime, even the most minor of crimes.

If an officer acts alone and leaves his weapons holstered, he commits a misdemeanor with every unconstitutional stop. If he has a partner backing him up or draws any weapon — even pepper spray — then the unconstitutional stop is a FELONY. For every officer involved.

If an officer patrols with a partner and they make 30 unconstitutional stops per day, catching three misdemeanor offenders in the process, those officers have taken three minor criminals off the street, at the cost of increasing the overall crime levels of the city by SIXTY FELONIES!

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