Readers of this blog or followers of the various places I exist on social media know that I spent several months volunteering with the Bill de Blasio campaign. I must say that last night was a good night. There was much jubilation at the victory party last night. Progressivism steam rolled both fear mongering and the tired fallacies of trickle down economics. My primary reason for jumping on the de Blasio bandwagon when he was in fourth place was really centered around his position on ending stop and frisk and firing Ray Kelly. I’m not going to rehash the reasons why ending this policy is so important to me, since I already made my case here. De Blasio’s stance on ending the practice of stop and frisk actually turned out to be the primary line of attack against him. His opponent actually put this ad out two weeks before the election;
It was a disgusting and transparent attempt at scaring New Yorkers. Classic modern republican campaigning. It’s never about getting you to vote for something, but instead to get you to vote against something out of fear.
While canvassing for the campaign, I actually spoke to a few (mostly older) people of color who were afraid that New York would be less safe if our police force didn’t stop harassing young men of color. That was actually kind of shocking to me because I expect that if someone isn’t going to base their opinions on the facts, they would surely base their opinions on their own self interest. I want to now share some facts with you, that I shared with those people I spoke with. Yes, crime is down in New York City. Crime was on a steady downward slope for ten years before Ray Kelly ever started his racially discriminatory practices. That would be two years before Guiliani started these unproved and racist approach, referred to as "the broken window" theory. stop and frisk is part of that strategy. The idea is that if you spend your resources going after low level street crimes, you will discourage those small time criminals from becoming Jamie Dimon (or something).
Here are some more facts about crime;
From 1994 – 2010, crime started to sharply decline in many large cities in America.
During that time, New York City’s violent crime rate dropped 29%.
In that same time period, Los Angeles’ violent crime rate dropped by 59%.
In that same time period, New Orleans’ violent crime rate dropped by 49%.
In that same time period, Dallas’ violent crime rate dropped by 37%.
In that same time period, Baltimore’s violent crime rate dropped by 37%.
These statistics all came from the FBI’s uniform crime reports. I encourage you to look them up for yourself.
None of these cities were practicing the blatant racism that is stopping and frisking young men of color. If I wanted to be as stupid and reactionary as supporters of stop and frisk, I would be proclaiming that stop and frisk slowed down the decline of crime in New York City. But since I’m not an idiot, and I understand that correlation isn’t causation, I’m not going to make that claim, although producing a republican style "you’re going to be shitting in your pants" ad around this premise might be kind of fun.
No one has ever produced any credible evidence that stop and frisk is effective. My belief in the destructiveness of this program isn’t based in a warm and fuzzy egalitarian, one world utopia. It’s based in pragmatism. So if you’re worried that on January 2nd, New York City is going to become a post apocalyptic, Thunderdome-like hellscape, you’re just wrong. And if you think that I’m just some doe eye sunny optimist, you should definitely provide me with your evidence to the contrary.
But until you do that, my pants will be devoid of the shit that irrational fear produces, and so should yours.