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June 29, 2013

The great NYC homicide decline continues

As reported in this New York Times article, the "number of homicides on record in New York City has dropped significantly during the first half of the year — to 154 from 202 in the same period last year — surprising even police officials who have long been accustomed to trumpeting declining crime rates in the city." Here is more:

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly attributed much of the drop to a new antigang strategy meant to suppress retaliatory violence among neighborhood gangs. Police officials also credited their efforts at identifying and monitoring abusive husbands whose behavior seemed poised to turn lethal.

The recent decrease in violence is all the more striking because last year the department recorded the fewest homicides since it began a reliable method of compiling crime statistics half a century ago. The police recorded 419 murders in 2012.

“By far, it was the lowest, and guess what?” Commissioner Kelly said Friday morning before going on to announce that the number of murders this year was running about 25 percent below even that record year. “In my business, in our business, this is miraculous. These are lives that are being saved.”

The relationship between the drop in murders and the department’s controversial policy of stopping, questioning and sometimes frisking people on the street was hard to immediately divine.

On the one hand, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mr. Kelly have cited the declining murder rate as a vindication of their policing strategies, which rely heavily on the stop-and-frisk tactic. On the other, stop-and-frisks have dropped off considerably in the last 15 months, suggesting that the drop in murders might have been a result of other factors.

In the first three months of 2012, police records indicate, there were 203,500 stops. But in the first three months of this year, the police recorded fewer than 100,000 stops.

Over the last two decades, the decline in murders in New York has been greater than in other parts of the country. (In the early 1990s, when Mr. Kelly spent a little more than a year as police commissioner, the first of his two stints in the job, the city was coping with about 2,000 murders annually.)...

Noting how the latest reduction of violence coincided with a diminishing number of street stops, some civil rights lawyers have grown more vocal in questioning not only the legality but also the effectiveness of stop-and-frisk tactics.

But police commanders point to what they say is the long half-life of the deterrent effect of stop-and-frisk, saying that criminals may decide to leave their guns at home because they have been stopped in the past, even if the odds of a stop have decreased in recent months. And the police say the decrease in violence has most likely led to a corresponding decrease in suspicious behavior, which results in fewer stops.

June 29, 2013 at 09:09 PM | Permalink

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Liberal politicians in NYC (every leading politician in NYC) & black "leaders" notwithstanding,
street-level popular support for stop & frisk persists. E.g.:

“If they had frisked the person who killed my son, it would have been one less gun on the streets. I’m for it,” she declared.
Brooklyn Mom: Stop and Frisk Would Have Saved My Son
1."Natasha Christopher says she did everything she could to protect her son from violence. For one, he had a strict
5 p.m. curfew.
"A 15-year-old 10th-grader, Akeal was shot after a graduation party on June 27"
"She describes the day her son died as the worst day of her life and wished that God had taken her instead." -- www.wwrl1600.com

2. "Debbie McBride has nothing but contempt for the ongoing litigation [to abolish "stop & frisk"]. McBride is a street-
hardened building superintendent in the heart of the South Bronx zone targeted by the NYCLU. When asked about
TAP, also known as the Clean Halls program, [the 3-time rape victim] doesn't mince words. "I love it!" she roars.
"I'm serious, *I love it. Me being a woman, I feel safe*. I can get up at 4 AM and start working.""

"""3. "Victor, a 21-year-old ... has been stopped a couple of times. “I guess they doing they jobs,” he acknowledges.
“*That’s why it’s safer*: they doing they jobs.” Mrs. Sweeper’s adult son Michael has been patted down once or
twice, but like Victor, he doesn’t get worked up about it. “The police are pretty respectful,” he says." --
H. McDonald, 2013, City Journal 23:1

Posted by: Adamakis | Jul 1, 2013 11:28:32 AM

Without a death penalty? Who would have thunk it?

Posted by: Joe | Jul 1, 2013 11:56:52 AM

So much for those on this blog who scream that the death penalty is essential to lower the murder rate.

Posted by: Paul | Jul 1, 2013 12:44:49 PM

eh. A lot of the spleen is a matter of moral beliefs on the justice of execution.

Posted by: Joe | Jul 3, 2013 12:00:22 AM

Paul --

"So much for those on this blog who scream that the death penalty is essential to lower the murder rate."

Would you please quote the comment that "screams" or otherwise claims that "the death penalty is essential to lower the murder rate."

Should I wait?

And if the DP did lower it, would you then support the DP? Of course not. And why not? Because your crime-indulgent ideology is more important to you than having fewer people murdered.

Gosh, Paul, you're just so..........moral and everything.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 3, 2013 11:13:51 AM

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