June 29, 2013

Hobbes: Bloomberg has been a great mayor

From the perspective of 17th Century political philosopher Thomas Hobbes, author of Leviathan, New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg has been a great mayor. Leave aside for the moment all the distractions about banning Big Gulps and similar trivia. In Bloomberg's 12 years, he has made impressive progress at the fundamental duty of the state: to hold a monopoly on violence.

From the New York Times:
City Homicides Drop Sharply, Again; Police Cite New Antigang Strategy 
By JOSEPH GOLDSTEIN 
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.

In the first 178 days of 2013, the city averaged less than a murder a day, the first time the police can recall that happening for any sustained period.

The rest of the article has material of interest on Bloomberg's stop-and-frisk war on "the right people." Goldstein is a good police reporter.
... 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. 
... 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. 

So, is Mayor Bloomberg getting in much trouble for his recent comment defending the NYPD's racial profiling: "I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little"?

Or is it all going to blow over? I'll bet on the latter. We shall see ...

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

Monopoly on violence is Weber. He's Hobbesian because he seems to agree with the Hobbesian precept that legitimacy flows from the protection afforded by the sovereign. Maybe that is a distinction without a difference, but then again 1970s New York as the state of nature is really Hobbesian.

Hunsdon said...

The last paragraph was a good one. Of course, if s'n'f is banned, its half life doesn't really matter. Maybe the quality in New York should revisit some movies set in the Big Apple in the 1970s, while they ponder their pieties.

Steve Sailer said...

"Monopoly on violence is Weber. He's Hobbesian because he seems to agree with the Hobbesian precept that legitimacy flows from the protection afforded by the sovereign."

Thanks.

Dave Pinsen said...

Deterrence might explain part of the drop off in stops, but I suspect jail explains a bigger part if it. What % of those stopped last year are in the pokey?

Anonymous said...

Monopolization of violence, not quite.
Plenty of people in NY have guns, legally or illegally.
It's not just state power but public approval, stated or unstated. Majority of NYers looked the other way on NY anti-crime policies beginning with Giuliani.
In other words, the state couldn't have done this alone. People got tired of crime, and there was a cooperation among (white)voters, lawyers, judges, middle classes, working classes, and etc. They all said ENOUGH. If Giuliani or Bloomberg had tried to push these policies against the will of most NYers, he wouldn't have succeeded. But after Stinkin Dinkins and so many black-related problems, NYers finally decided to go for law-and-order and look the other way about all those cries about violation of civil liberties.
I doubt if Bloomberg would have succeeded in Detroit or Haiti.
(And notice the state drastically grew in power in Venezuela under Chavez but crime and violence got worse.)

Also, the great expansion of the finance sector in US economy made NY richer than ever and so there was lots of money to spend. NY attracted lots of yuppies and the like and zoning laws favored them over Negroes.

Glossy said...

154 murders in a 6 month period in a city of roughly 8.4 million translates to about 3.7 murders per year per 100,000 people. So the NYC murder rate has fallen from about 30 in 1990 to about 3.7 now. How low can a society's murder rate go? This wiki lists Japan's murder rate as 0.4, Hong Kong's as 0.2, Singapore's as 0.3, Iceland's as 0.3, China's as 1.0, the UK's as 1.2, Norway's as 0.6, Germany's as 0.8.

The US is listed at 4.8, which, if I recall correctly, is down from about 10 in the early 1990s. So the nationwide murder rate fell in half, but the NYC rate fell roughly by a factor of 8.

Thoughts on causation:

I don't know why the nationwide murder rate started falling in the early 1990s. Guesses: an increase in the incarceration rate, a decrease in atmospheric lead, the delayed effect of the legalization of abortion, several of these factors working together, none of them. It could be something no one has thought of. All I know for sure is that the nationwide decrease is real. Murder stats are collected by thousands of local governments. A conspiracy to misreport the nationwide murder rate would have had to infiltrate or coerce thousands of police departments. Such a conspiracy would have quickly been discovered.

Young, upscale people from all over the country have always wanted to live in New York. But in the 70s and 80s they were scared off from pursuing this dream by crime. The nationwide fall in crime suddenly made the SWPL dream a little bit easier to achieve. So SWPLs flocked to New York (and DC and Chicago and other large cities). This pushed up real estate prices in those places. That priced out some NAMs from NYC (and DC and surely from other prestigious cities). And that decreased NYC's crime rate further, driving it down faster than the nationwide rate.

According to NYC's Vital Stats reports, black births as a percentage of all births in the city have fallen from 29.8% in 1993 to 21% in 2011. Hispanic births went from 32.3% in 1993 to 30.6% in 2011, white births from 28.8% to 31.4%, Asian ones from 8% to 15.8%, "other" have stayed at a little over 1%.

So while "the sun people" have been gaining ground nationwide, "the ice people" have been growing both relatively and in absolute terms in NYC. That should explain a large portion of the difference between the nationwide murder rate decrease (2x) and the NYC decrease (8x). Stop and Frisk couldn't have hurt, but it's unlikely to have been a huge factor.

ironrailsironweights said...

NYC's declining crime rate is a difficult thing for gun-rights advocates to explain because it occurred even as concealed carry remains impossible for all but the very well-connected.

Peter

ironrailsironweights said...

@Glossy:
While I don't know if the city's statistics are this detailed, "on the ground" it does seem as if the Hispanic population has become relatively less Caribbean Hispanic (Puerto Rican and Dominican) and relatively more mainland Hispanic (primarily Mexican). As far as I can tell the latter group tends to be somewhat less crime-prone.

Peter

Anonymous said...

"So while "the sun people" have been gaining ground nationwide, "the ice people" have been growing both relatively and in absolute terms in NYC. That should explain a large portion of the difference between the nationwide murder rate decrease (2x) and the NYC decrease (8x). Stop and Frisk couldn't have hurt, but it's unlikely to have been a huge factor."

I agree. I also think that the more economically marginal (and more crime prone) blacks have been pushed out by rising cost of living, and been replaced by more productive, less crime-prone, immigrant blacks.

Cail Corishev said...

NYC's declining crime rate is a difficult thing for gun-rights advocates to explain because it occurred even as concealed carry remains impossible for all but the very well-connected.

Only for the easily confused. The fact that increased private gun ownership and carrying reduces violent crime doesn't mean that it's the only thing that can reduce it.

Glossy said...

"While I don't know if the city's statistics are this detailed, "on the ground" it does seem as if the Hispanic population has become relatively less Caribbean Hispanic (Puerto Rican and Dominican) and relatively more mainland Hispanic (primarily Mexican)."

ironrailsironweights, you are correct. I just compared the 1990 vital stats report (page 15) with the 2011 report (page 32).

Births to Puerto-Rican mothers fell from 19,327 to 8,988 (wow), births to Dominican mothers fell from 11,604 to 11,100, births to Mexican mothers rose from 3,045 to 7,704. Colombians went from 2,017 to 1,155, Ecuadorans (mostly Indios) from 1,905 to 3,163.

Where did all those PRs go? Anecdotally, to Florida and the far-out exurbs in PA, etc. I know that lots if Hispanics went to CT. Were PRs among them?

Anonymous said...

That Puerto Ricans have among the highest intermarriage rate of any ethnic group in the US could be part of the reason.

http://gradworks.umi.com/34/57/3457012.html

ironrailsironweights said...

Where did all those PRs go? Anecdotally, to Florida and the far-out exurbs in PA, etc. I know that lots if Hispanics went to CT. Were PRs among them?

Not so much Connecticut, where housing is expensive. In this case the anecdotes seem spot-on, which Florida (especially Orlando) and the Poconos getting the most. Others dispersed more widely throughout the country.

Peter

Glossy said...

Births to African-American mothers are separated in the vital stats reports from births to Jamaican, Haitian, Trinidadian, etc. mothers. A-M births in NYC fell from 27,400 in 1990 (19.6% of total births) to 15,149 in 2011 (12.3%). A-Ms + PRs fell from 46,727 (33%) to 24,137 (20%).

Auntie Analogue said...


The difference in murder rates between the first three months of any two years may have been due to cold weather in one of those two years and warmer weather in the other one of those years - in the same way in which violent crimes typically spike in warmer summers. I'm faintly dismayed that Goldstein did not check to see if the weather differed significantly between the same quarter in the two years he featured in his article.

Anonymous said...

The NYC crime stats are mostly due to section 8 moving criminals out of the city. Small towns in Pa. like Wilkes Barre seem to be picking up the slack.

HUD: Dubuque discriminated against blacks with Section 8 changes

HUD alleged the changes specifically impacted black transplants from Chicago.

http://www.thonline.com/news/breaking/article_ffdfa618-d9fd-11e2-ba1c-0019bb30f31a.html

Anonymous said...

Professor Mark Kleiman of UCLA has been pointing out for the past decade that concentrating criminal justice resources on the really bad offenders will reduce crime and eventually reduce the need for use of these resources.

Anonymous said...

"NYC's declining crime rate is a difficult thing for gun-rights advocates to explain because it occurred even as concealed carry remains impossible for all but the very well-connected.

Peter"

There are a lot more legal guns in NYC. More police, more types of police especially after 9-11, more retired police, I suspect more armed guards for all the rich people. NYC can currently afford a s highly paid class of gun users.

ironrailsironweights said...

Not that the bad old days are completely over.

Peter

Anonymous said...

Glossy

"Murder stats are collected by thousands of local governments...Such a conspiracy would have quickly been discovered."

Strawman. No-one says there is a conspiracy to misreport the number of homicides.

(An opening strawman is an ethnic signature btw.)

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324712504578131360684277812.html

"In other words, more people in the U.S. are getting shot, but doctors have gotten better at patching them up. Improved medical care doesn't account for the entire decline in homicides but experts say it is a major factor."

That's the first point. Increased incarceration and improved medical treatment is responsible for the bulk of the decline in homicides everywhere except New York.

.

In New York there is an additional unique factor which is the use of a combination of police harassment followed by gentrification to ethnically cleanse the black population from New York. The harassment forces the criminal element to move elsewhere making gentrification safer and therefore faster.

The strategy works because black people are responsible for a hugely disproportionate amount of the impulsive aggravated assaults that lead to homicide.

(Obviously the crime doesn't disappear. It is simply displaced outside New York.)

This ethnic cleansing has only been possible because the New York media supports the ethnic cleansing of black people from New York - especially Manhattan - as shown by the total lack of media storm compared with what would happen if a White politician outside New York had made these comments.

.

"the ice people" have been growing both relatively and in absolute terms in NYC."

One particular branch - hence the media collusion in the ethnic cleansing.

pat said...

There is another side to the monopoly of violence argument. At such times as the government is not in effect there is no moral imperative to respect government rules on weapons.

It's a little different in New York City because of the paucity of open ground. But here is California a prudent citizen would be wise to bury a couple 'illegal' guns in their back yard.

There are two regimes under which a citizen needs a firearm - when there is police authority in effect, and when there isn't. The most recent examples of the latter are Katrina and Sandy. Before that there was Rodney King.

How do you rely on the public monopoly of force when the police run away?

At such a time you need an AR-15 and concealed carry type handgun - both of which are illegal in California. Diane Feinstein has her own weapons of these types but she has denied them to her constituents. What to do?

There is no real moral issue. A wise citizen will acquire an assault rifle and a concealed carry type handgun and just bury them in their back ward. Keep a legal large handgun in your house in case there is an intruder in normal peaceful times, but have ready access to illegal weapons when law and order disappear as they tend to do in times of crisis.

A Message for Eric Holder: I don't have any illegal firearms. I'd be pretty stupid to publically advocate this policy if I did.

Albertosaurus

d said...

PRs are pretty much gone from NYC; organized Hispanic presence is Dominican, unorganized Mexican.

I haven't heard any controversy whatever about Bloomberg's remarks. The first time I heard it was here.

Big question: who comes after Bloomberg? I say: Bloomberg. He's not going anywhere.

After Koch & Giuliani's terms were over, they disappeared. But Bloomie has $26BN and a huge will to power. I believe he is plotting to choose the next mayor.

I think their Next Big Thing will be to privatize the housing projects, starting in Manhattan. It is a amazing how much prime real estate is sucked up by public housing.

Glossy said...

"I think their Next Big Thing will be to privatize the housing projects, starting in Manhattan. It is a amazing how much prime real estate is sucked up by public housing."

There are currently plans to lease parking lots and kids' play areas on the grounds of some projects in Manhattan to private developers who would build private apartment buildings there. There is already a lot of upscale housing across the street from some projects in both Brooklyn and Manhattan. The projects have become so safe that this plan doesn't sound all that crazy.



sunbeam said...

Does anyone have the slightest idea of the racial makeup of people treated for gunshot wounds?

I have some suspicions. I wouldn't be surprised if it is 50% black.

Higher even.

ironrailsironweights said...

There are two regimes under which a citizen needs a firearm - when there is police authority in effect, and when there isn't. The most recent examples of the latter are Katrina and Sandy

Living in a region heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy, I would have to disagree with your statement WRT that storm. There was no organized violence, very minimal looting, and no reports of armed business owners or homeowners banding together to protect their properties. And keep in mind that some low income areas such as Coney Island and Far Rockaway were among the hardest-hit.

Peter

not a hacker said...

Not that the bad old days are completely over

Let's have a show of hands - everyone who's ever shot up a party because he couldn't crash it: Nobody? C'mon, not one white person? Really? Truth, do you believe these people?

Marc B said...

I'd like to see the how the crime rates have fared in the 5 surrounding cities with highest importation of New York City's exported Section 8 tenants over the same time period.

Anonymous said...

HUD: Dubuque discriminated against blacks with Section 8 changes

HUD alleged the changes specifically impacted black transplants from Chicago.

http://www.thonline.com/news/breaking/article_ffdfa618-d9fd-11e2-ba1c-0019bb30f31a.html


It's kinda amusing how the comments were disabled for that article.

Anonymous said...

NYC, like the rest of America, is a Police State, only more so.

I think it was Ben Franklin who said something like ``he who chooses security over freedom deserves neither`` or something like that.

I remember NYC in the 70´s, Sure it was a little dirtier and you might get mugged every once in a while,,,BIG DEAL.. but it was fun, and it kept the uppity suburban types out,,, most white manhattanites are pansy control freaks who make the city unbearable to me. truly too bad what happened to my beloved nyc..

Anonymous said...

Hobbitization of NY.

Dorks over Orcs.

Anonymous said...

New York - Sundowner city.

Harry Baldwin said...

Living in a region heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy, I would have to disagree with your statement WRT that storm. There was no organized violence, very minimal looting, and no reports of armed business owners or homeowners banding together to protect their properties.

That's not true--there were photos of homeowners armed with boas-and-arrows and signs posted indicating homeowners were armed and would shoot looters. There were reports of robberies in housing projects by hoodlums pretending to be Con Ed employees.

DCS said...

As James Taranto would say, "Fox Butterfield, where are you?"

Anonymous said...

According to a cop friend of mine, violent crime is seriously under-reported in our little suburb. Am I supposed to believe the numbers from the violent cities?