On the heels of a "damning" report on the NYPD's stop-and-frisk policies (conducted using the NYPD's own data), Public Advocate (and presumptive mayoral candidate) Bill de Blasio called on Mayor Bloomberg to issue an Executive Order dramatically reducing the number of unwarranted stops. Among other things, the NYCLU's analysis found that in 2003, the NYPD stopped 266 people for every gun recovered, but in 2011, cops had to stop 879 New Yorkers to recover a single gun. And so de Blasio has launched a citywide petition drive through the new website Bloomberg Act Now, which he hopes will be an online hub for the stop stop-and-frisk movement. The Bloomberg administration hopes people just ignore him, and issued this statement yesterday:
When Bill de Blasio last served in the City's Executive branch [under Dinkins] there were 2,000 murders a year. Today we are on track to have less than 50—a record new low. Mr. de Blasio may be nostalgic for the days when the ACLU set crime policy in this city, but most New Yorkers don't want rampant crime to return. The fact is Stop, Question and Frisk keeps guns and other weapons off the streets and saves lives. Make no mistake, we will not continue to be the safest big city in America if Mr. de Blasio has his way.
In addition to the executive order forcing the NYPD to reduce the number of "unwarranted stops," De Blasio is calling for legislation enabling COMPSTAT reporting to hold Commanding Officers accountable for reducing the number of unwarranted stops in their precincts. He's also calling for more police—the NYPD has shrunk to its smallest size since 1992—and more money for after-school programs, which de Blasio says "keep youth off the streets during peak hours for juvenile crime."
In response, Howard Wolfson, a deputy mayor, dismissed the calls for reform from de Blasio and Comptroller John Liu as "a race to the left and a return to high crime." Today de Blasio said Bloomberg's "in denial," telling reporters, "The thousands and thousands of people who are demanding a response here would like to see their mayor acknowledge their concern and then talk about what he's going to do, instead of this very crass counter attack that we saw yesterday, that did not in any way shape or form address this issue... The arrogance in his response has pointed out that the mayor is not taking this issue seriously."
Update 5:28 p.m.: Today Bloomberg defended stop and frisk, telling WNYC, "The NYCLU says the number of stops is great than the number of guns recovered. That's the point, they don't get it. Stops are a deterrent. It's the same reason we set up DWI stop points. This city used to be one of the crime capitals. We used to have more than 2,000 murders a year. Over the past ten years we have cut crime another 30 percent...90 percent of the murder victims in this city are black and Hispanic.”