He who places his hope on thee, O Virgin all-glorious, will prosper in all he does.

Inscription on Byzantine coin during reign of Romanus III

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Commish On Crime

The Wall Street Journal published an interview with William Bratton, former NYC Police Commissioner. He spoke about decreasing firearms' magazine capacities and enforcing background checks for firearms purchases. He spoke also about enforcing laws against minor crimes. 

The most important feature of his NYPD anti-crime program could have been his "stop and frisk" program:

...the 1968 Supreme Court ruling Terry v. Ohio, which held that a police officer is allowed to stop, question and frisk a person on the street if the officer has 'reasonable suspicion' that the person has committed, is committing, or is about to commit a crime. 'Stop-and-frisk' became a central feature of policing—and now, in a transformed New York two decades later, it has become a matter of controversy. Liberals want it banned. 

Critics of stop-and-frisk argue that it discriminates against blacks and Hispanics, who are the subjects of a majority of stops. Proponents say this simply reflects the demographic realities of crime. Although blacks make up only 23% of New York's population, for example, they accounted for more than 60% of all murder victims in 2011 and committed some 80% of all shootings. The issue is now in the federal courts, where for the first time a judge last week ruled a part of the program unconstitutional.

'Stop-and-frisk is not something that you can stop. It is an absolutely basic tool of American policing,' Mr. Bratton says. 'It would be like asking a doctor to give an examination to you without using his stethoscope.' Critics, he complains, 'always leave out the middle term—stop, question and frisk. About 60 to 70 percent of the stops don't result in a frisk in New York.' As for Judge Shira Scheindlin's recent ruling, he predicts a reversal 'when it goes to the Supreme Court.'

No comments: