Mayor Michael Bloomberg again forcefully defended the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisks Tuesday, as new data shows the number of stops conducted by police in the first quarter of this year is down dramatically compared with same period last year. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
One thing everyone can agree on is the numbers. Through the first quarter of this year, stop-and-frisks are down by more than half compared to last year. Crime, meanwhile, is also down, with murders down 30 percent. It's evidence, critics say, that stop-and-frisk has no bearing on crime prevention.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg took a different view Tuesday.
"That's the results of this," he said.
Bloomberg said the data shows that stop-and-frisk has worked by deterring crime, and less crime means less reason for police to make stops.
"The number of suspects going down because crime's going down, so you would expect that the number of stop-and-frisks would go down," Bloomberg said.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, meanwhile, attributed fewer stops both to changing deployment patterns and new training. He cautioned against drawing a straight line between the number of stops and crime rates.
"There's a whole host of initiatives that address the crime issue, but some people want to make it a one-issue matter," he said. "It's much more complex than that."
Stop-and-frisk, it seems, is a nonstop course of controversy. Not only is it the subject of an ongoing, high-profile, class-action lawsuit in federal court, it is also a main focus of this year's race for City Hall. The Democratic candidates all want to scale back, if not eliminate, the practice.
Christine Quinn, who's come under fire from rivals for supporting Commissioner Kelly, said that the new numbers show reining in stop-and-frisk won't jeopardize public safety.
"That shows us we can stay the safest big city in America without overly aggressive policies being implemented that causes us real tension between the community and the police," she said.
What seems clear is that no matter what the data, Bloomberg will continue to bristle at critics and stand firmly behind Kelly.
"Who do you want to trust in terms of setting our policy when it comes to policing strategies? Him, or a bunch of armchair critics and ideologues?" Bloomberg said. "I know who I want to trust."