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Heather Mac Donald
Stop the Killing, Keep “Stop-and-Frisk” « Back to Story

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throw all the thugs in jail and all you need is electrified fencing and some tents and port o johns
Carlos M. Rodriguez July 30, 2012 at 2:11 PM
On a late afternoon as I was busy preparing an early dinner on a foul Saturday evening, my first floor kitchen became punctuated by strobe lights and the sort that come from police vehicles. As I turned my attention to the street, I noticed three undercover officers with badges about their necks questioning two occupants of an expensive looking foreign import who were younger than what one might expect. The weather was inclement and the officers stood outside this car with their flashlights trained on its occupants. The amount of time if not their apparent patience was what made me gawk after some 10 minutes. Finally after 20 minutes, one of the officers asked the occupants to extend their wrists outside the windows. They were swiftly handcuffed and diectctex one at a time to stand against the trunk in the rain. Each was patted down with an incredible amount of care and I saw two guns removed from the two seated in the rear of the car. Incidentally, they appeared to be the youngest of the four. A blue and white police car appeared a short time later with a patrol supervisor and took the two armed passengers while the unmarked car took the others under arrest. A loud cheer of satisfaction could be heard coming out from the windows of my tenement. This is (I feel) how it is supposed to work. The four occupants were all light skinned Hispanics and not black.

The loss of any human life for something as foolish and entirely avoidable is a sad statement on humanity. Linked - practically in lockstep - with our city's myopic legislation of guns, this brings into question how do we best protect our youth, senior citizens, tourist and citizens in general.

About as far back as our country's founding, some felt that they were better able to look after themselves, property and communities. Of course everything back then was rather different. Our present constellation wrestles painfully over perceived inequalities and the accusation of a general loss of concern. This obviously does not hold true and further clouds the central issue. Firearms are in fact overly accessible to those with ill intent as has always been the case. Law enforcement responded to an extremely difficult situation with much diligence. After carefully identifiying the dilemma courtesy of COMPSTAT, they then set out to systemically eradicate the threat. This was not done on a whim and involved a great deal of ongoing training to the very people who we count on to appear when we sense any fear.

Much could have been done differently on that fatefully day when a 4yr old life was suddenly extinguished before he could rightfully begin his education.
Politicians and grassroots leaders have suddenly turned silent as the community itself has grow tired of the cycle that claims lives so wantonly and a representation that impedes any gainful solution.
Whether McDonald has been stopped has nothing to do with anything. A solution does not require such specific empathy. If it did, The Civil Rights Act wouldn't have passed until much later. Regardless, I don't believe the critics here actually care about her civil rights, or the rights of anyone stopped. If they did, they'd surely be marching as passionately for every victim of violence in the same neighborhood. That doesn't happen.

To say the solution rests in "better education" and "more jobs" is ridiculous. Not only have those been the de facto solutions for decades but their purpose isn't to stop people from shooting at each other after basketball. You learn that shooting your cousin is bad by just being human. School is about discipline and greater knowledge so you can qualify for and maintain a job. So many excuses and so little action by the so-called outraged.
I wonder where you live? Do you live in an IMPACT ZONE? Have you ever been stopped & frisked? It is humiliating & demorilizing. It makes you feel lke a peisoner in your own community. I live a few blocks east of Forest houses & I fear the police much more than anybody else. They make us feel like we are living in nazi Germany the way they harass us for walking into our own buildings. We need to improve education & create more job opportunities for the people!
A resounding no to this idea. There is far too much abuse and corruption in law enforcement, at all levels of government. One incident of wrongful death is far too many. The public remains ignorant or intentionally ignores the violence perpetrated by rogue officers.

Yes, there are bad people out there. And yes, law enforcement does curtail much of the crime. Until the "system" adopts policies that require immediate dismissal, removes any criminal and civil protection of such officers, eliminates public employee unions in general, and makes it a crime to effect the "code of silence," society does not need to broaden the powers of law enforcement.

Say no to a police state.

Brilliant. It's all so simple! If violating people's, especially poor people's 4th Amendment rights on the street will make people safer, why not just let the cops search their houses without warrants? But only in "high crime areas." Not Central Park West.
What about freedom, give people permits to carry legally
I cannot judge between those who say stop-and-frisk works and those who say it doesn't, but _something_ changed in NYC since Giuliani became mayor. But there's a limit to how much police presence people will tolerate.

At any given level of police presence, violent crime will be proportional to the number of violent criminals out and about. You can accept their violent crime, you can kill the criminals (there are too many to keep imprisoned), or you can stop letting so many children be born into families that will raise them to be criminals.

One day we'll have the birth control technology that will allow us to offer a comfortable support for single mothers who agree not to have any more children out of wedlock, and which will allow us to offer convicted criminals early release if they agree to not impregnate women until either they marry or their parole is completed without re-offending. This will result in fewer children being raised to be criminals, and will add a Darwinian incentive to people to get their acts together.

Until then, it is for the people who live in these neighborhoods to choose between (A) toddlers killed in the crossfire, (B) teenage gang members locked up or killed by police at high rates, or (C) the heavy hand of constant police supervision.

As for gun control, why would bans be more effective with guns than with marijuana?
@grupenhoff: Such extravagant hysteria wins you condign derision ("Stop and frisk is the beginning of Nazi Germany"). And when Jews start committing a proportionately greater percentage of violent crimes, then on the basis of probability alone -- a valuable standard by which we weigh most risks v. benefits in our lives -- I'm sure that most law-abiding Brooklyn Jews would welcome such proactive measures to protect the lives of the innocent among them ("Pretty soon, they'll go to Brooklyn and start stopping all the Jews, not because they are carrying weapons, but because they are Jews").
@Michael Meyers: In this case --viz, nearly a hundred deaths and injuries by shootings in two months -- the law, while not precisely an ass, is clearly a suicide pact ("Stopping young people of color because their "race" is disproportionately involved in violent crime is also taboo--i.e. race-based stops or "racial profiling" is not permitted by law"). Again, most live by probabilities. I'd wager you do too. Further, that less than one-quarter of one percent of frisks turn up guns is irrelevant to the question, whether those that were confiscated prevented deaths. Probability, again.

B. Samuel Davis July 24, 2012 at 4:14 PM
Mr. Meyers: If "everyone’s liberty warrants judicial protection from illegal police behavior" then certainly a free society also values the ability to walk the streets without being subject to violence. I say that as someone with the unfortunate experience of having a knife at my throat during a mugging in Union Square park in the 80's.

Just how much violence would it take before NYCRC would support stop and frisk? If the answer is none, then you understand that when citizens don't feel safe they vote for order. And that can lead to something truly dangerous.

David E. Shellenberger July 24, 2012 at 4:07 PM
Ms. Mac Donald writes: "Unless the politicians and editorialists pressing so hard for a radical reduction of stops can offer a crime-fighting strategy to rival the NYPD’s record, they are implicitly calling for a rise in violence."

Here's a strategy to fight crime: Close the NYPD and let residents and communities purchase cheaper and more effective security services through the market. In addition, end welfare (with its corrosive effect on character); legalize drugs (ending drug crime); and close the public schools (allowing the market to better serve parents and students).
Heather Mac Donald's piece reminds us that "Bad facts make for bad law." Her and NYPD's "facts" do not support unbridled much less race-based stops and frisk practices. Indeed, by NYPD's own stats, cops find guns in less than one-quarter of one percent of their frisks. Moreover, the overwhelming numbers of (mostly black and Hispanic young males) stopped and frisked have never been involved with crime and, thus, have had no criminal records.

Despite these hard facts, Mayor Bloomberg and other politicians--including Assemblyman Eric Stevenson--nevertheless invoke horrific anecdotes and use the citizenry's fear of violent felons to justify NYPD's race-based stops and frisks. Indeed, despite their insistence that NYPD's stops and frisks are within the law, judges have decided otherwise; the courts have sharply criticized and curtailed cops' searches in these circumstances as unlawful. When that happens, and whenever a person with a gun is set free because a cop erred in searching him--the Mayor and other pols bash judges and blame the courts for misreading the U.S. Constitution. The truth lies elsewhere; the laws governing police powers to stop and frisk has been pretty clear for several decades. The standard for stops is reasonable suspicion that the person is or has been involved in a crime. As for frisks, it is simply not enough for a cop to have a “hunch” that the person stopped is armed and dangerous. The cop must have a reasonable suspicion--guided by "articulable facts--(such as seeing a bulge in the suspect's jacket or other clothing) that that person is "packing" a gun. The frisk is for the protection of the cop. However, random stops and frisks are a no-no. Stopping young people of color because their "race" is disproportionately involved in violent crime is also taboo--i.e. race-based stops or "racial profiling" is not permitted by law.

Something is manifestly wrong when our cops’ “hunches” — or quotas — ensnare hundreds of thousands of youths each year, and yet guns are found in less than a quarter of one percent of the stops, and when the overwhelming majority of the hundreds of thousands stopped each year are not only NOT packing weapons but are wholly innocent of any criminal activity.

The courts' rulings remind us that in a free society, everyone’s liberty warrants judicial protection from illegal police behavior. If some actual “punks” with guns go free that’s because, in the circumstances, cops too often follow their errant “hunches” and not the law.

As for Assemblyman Eric Stevenson change of heart, I could care less that he's changed his mind about stops and frisks; the law has not changed and must be enforced regardless of his personal druthers. But, inasmuch as Heather Mac Donald quotes Stevenson's change of heart, it is incumbent on her to complete what Assemblyman Stevenson actually said. He reportedly added that such stop and frisks by police must be done "respectfully" and within legal boundaries. He continued that he believes NYPD crosses those legal boundaries. Whether he is right or wrong--and appreciating and understanding fully his personal anguish over and upset with a human tragedy involving the death of an innocent 4-year-old child who got caught in a shootout in the Bronx--the constitutional boundaries are such that police may not use either the race of most victims of violent crimes or the race of most perpetrators of such crimes as the standard or basis for stops and frisks. That kind of racial decision making and profiling is patently unconstitutional and simply wrong from the standpoint of what a free society values.

Michael Meyers, Executive Director
New York Civil Rights Coalition
I can, indeed, offer a crime-fighting strategy that will be better then the NYPD's current strategy. Arm the honest people. In the states and cities where normal people have guns, the crime rate is less than NY's by several magnitudes. In the states and cities where concealed carry exists, crime has dropped precipitously. Only Illinois does not have concealed carry and it's a war zone. NYC makes it hard for the honest to have weapons. And where does that leave them? Helpless before those who do not obey laws.
Hi Heather,
It's been awhile. Hope you are well.

Enjoyed reading your article. My article, "The Perfect Storm for Violence," posted on Safe Kids Now (com) blog. Time to get beyond gun control, too, and engage the community!
Great article Heather - but someone should look into why these policies are necessary in the first place.

My thought is: "where are the parents" of the gang members, of the child turned criminal. The answer, which I saw first hand in the 90's in Essex County Newark, NJ Juvenile Court (a place right out of Dickens - I wonder if it still in the old courthouse - I urge anyone who has time to go to inner city juvenile court to get an education in big city problems - over and over again I heard "where's the grandmother") is "nowhere." When children are raised in families without a father, in some cases without a mother or a father, or even a grandmother - the generation of grandmothers that took care of children after Democratic policies shattered families in the 70's is mostly gone, for the most part, or no one, that child will have problems. Forget about school, without parents, what these children learn about society is through media, which promotes a violent gangster lifestyle.

In fact, since attachment to family is natural in humans, the gangs become the substitute. You really think that the criminal justice system is going to deter someone who has found family in gangs? How would you react if you found family in a gang after getting nothing anywhere else?

Yes, this is far afield from the story, but the point, as mentioned in other comments, is this: "Blacks, though just 24 percent of New York City’s population, commit 70 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city." Since this statistic is true not only for New York but elsewhere as well, isn't it reasonable to assume that there is something fundamentally wrong here, that stop and frisk may help but won't solve?

I've argued elsewhere that much of what has been done to the black community by Democrats was intentional, that the suborning of the leadership, the inducement of governmental dependency by destruction of the family, the loss of the traditional employment to immigrants (employment which could have led to better things on a more level playing field) and most important the conditioning of the American mind by Democratic media to equate any mention of the awful statistics and the one party system in the black community with racism, was intentional - that Democratic leaders knew that community destruction would lead to one sided vote tallies, i.e. power. Certainly, there was more than enough evidence that destroying the family would induce dependence. That the community would be criminalized was an unintended consequence - probably unintended, although it was criminal neglect since there was and is lots of evidence to suggest that shattering families leads to crime. And of course that is what has happened.

The problem is that until SOMEONE starts talking about what's going on NOTHING is going to change. I recall in the 80's people saying the problem in the community was no jobs. We then went through - thanks to Reagan's policies adopted by Clinton as well - a prolonged period of high employment. So Democrats could no longer blame lack of employment, in fact, you don't hear anything from them these days. It's as if Democrats are willing to accept the status quo, want to keep it going as long as possible, while the community gets worse and worse - to the point...well look at that statistic to see where it is headed.

And there really is no hope for the future, there is nothing out there which indicates that conditions in the community are improving. In fact, it is just the opposite. And no one is talking about the real problem, which is the destruction of the black family by Democratic policies - a host of Democratic policies. Right now there is no incentive to change a thing - with Democrats getting close to 100% of the vote, with Democratic leaders and their followers making a fortune off the poverty industry, while delivering absolutely nothing, what possible reason is there for change?

After all family is a Republican issue. And if 50 years of Democratic allegiance hasn't improved the community, in fact has taken it backwards, for Democrats who cares are as long as the people vote the right way and as long as the right people are getting government money.

In short, while the rest of the country has steadily improved, Democratic media has conditioned the rest of us to ignore the black community, at the price of being labelled a racist, which for politicians is a virtual career killer. So you have one community responsible for 70% of most crime, that has been pillaged at will by Democrats which has induced conditions under which this has all been done, which has destroyed the family, which has taken away the will to be educated, which has impoverished this community under the very noses of the rest of the country, since the rest of the country is afraid to say a thing.

When a group of people - Democrats - commit the national equivalent of a holocaust shouldn't someone says something? It isn't as if it's a secret, although there is a powerful incentive to keep it all quiet - I note that recently someone brought up the 70% statistic on the Herald Riviera radio show, Riviera claimed it couldn't be true. Democratic media has been THAT successful at keeping all of this under wraps.

But, someone has to notice who is in those flash mob videos, someone has to notice what has happened in Rahms Chicago, someone has to notice that year in and year out, for HALF A CENTURY for crissakes, the black community has been all about more for the poor, even as much of the rest got wealthier. And it isn't going to get any better - in fact , it is going to get worse since as every year passes less and less children in the community are raised in two parent families. With no one even talking about what's going really going on, unless and until someone does things wills imply get worse.

You would have thought by now that Democratic media would have to say something but the powerful incentive toward silence works on them as well.
But, how can you possibly hide all of this - how can Democrats expect the rest of us to stay quiet forever?
So....stop and frisk? It helps, and it is interesting to see how the Democrats respond, like children really since they have nothing left other than to scream about racism. And no one could possibly believe that stop and frisk solves the problem - which is how would any mother or father let his son or daughter have an illegal gun. But, Democratic media knows better than to frame the issue like that.
NYC - run by liberals ... HOPELESS.
Stick with policing 32 oz cola sales.
Conduct Stop and Frisk only in the communities and on the community members who will most likely be carrying an illegal firearm. Do not stop me or my child. If not, then it is the TSA all over again, searching 90 year old white women in wheelchairs at the airport.
I always value Heather Mac Donald for her pithy, logical view of any situation. She is a national treasure.
If you do adult crime, you should do adult time. If this takes a constitutional ammendment, then let's do it. There is no way a shooting, let alone a murder, is a "juvenal" offense.
"There's a direct correlation between the presence of guns and the kind of violence mentioned in the article."

It is not the simple presence of guns that is important, it is who possesses these weapons. There is a correlation between *illegal* guns and violent crime. Put another way, there is a correlation between criminals and violent crime.

However, when is comes to legal ownership the correlation is different. The states that issue the most gun permits have had the largest drops in violent crime.

NYC should allow law-abiding citizens to carry holstered handguns. Not concealed.
Those who would give up liberty for a temporary sense of security, deserve neither liberty nor security.
I read daily of police arresting drug dealers using undercover methods. I haven't seen stories of under cover gun buys, but that would seem obvious. These hoods can't buy (or shouldn't be able to buy) guns through the usual methods. Getting the street dealers out of business would help
F..k globalisation!
Obviously, it is prejudice with you, Beverly -- you just voiced it! I might go along with this if cops stopped and frisked every person on Wall Street, the perps of white collar crime. By the way, 98% of those are white.

Stop and frisk is the beginning of Nazi Germany all over again. Pretty soon, they'll go to Brooklyn and start stopping all the Jews, not because they are carrying weapons, but because they are Jews.
And then they'll come for you, Bev.
Thank you for playing, Glenn. Blacks, though just 24 percent of New York City’s population, commit 70 percent of all murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults in the city. White violent crime rates are far lower.

But hey, it's always "prejudice" with some folks.
Glenn At New York City Guns July 23, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Nice try. Stop & Frisk is troubling because minorities are being detained EVERYWHERE in NYC, not just in "certain neighborhoods". I am all for the NYPD being supported in their quest for lowering crime, but the fundamental denial of civil rights as guaranteed under the constitution to be free from this sort of police state behavior cannot be overlooked, simply because of some emotionalism. If we are willing to give up our personal freedoms for some short-term sense of security we shall be left with neither. We need more freedom in this city, not less of it.
"a level magnitudes less than in other big cities with similar demographics."

- meaning with similarly high percentage of African American population.

Al Sharpton, with his demonstrations against "stop & frisk" would rather have Blacks kill each other than be reasonably profiled. How can even blacks tolerate him?
No one is stopped and frisked....they are stopped, asked questions, and depending on the answers and the officer's experienced judgement, frisked only if suspicious..
How about reducing the number of guns on the streets? There's a direct correlation between the presence of guns and the kind of violence mentioned in the article.
What non-sense! I expected to read that the killers had been stopped and not frisked and as a result the child was murdered, but no. Just another utopian "what if" mentality piece to garner support.

I know, lets stop every person in every street, store, hallway, building, car and house and frisk them...