August 15, 2013

Stop and frisk and diminishing marginal returns

Here's an excerpt from an article by the NYT's mostly pro-cop reporter Joseph Goldstein about the decision against Mayor Bloomberg's stop and frisk policy in New York City. I haven't read the 195-page decision, but it sounds kind of incoherent (at least in Goldstein's not hugely sympathetic retelling), even though I have some sympathy for the decision.
Police Dept.’s Focus on Race Is at Core of Ruling Against Stop-and-Frisk Tactic 
In the process, Judge Scheindlin coined a term, “indirect racial profiling,” to explain how the department’s reliance on data indicating that black men committed a disproportionate amount of crime led to what she saw as violations of the Constitution. 
How the judge came to this decision was revealed over the course of a 195-page opinion, released on Monday. 
One witness claimed to have heard Mr. Kelly say that the stop-and-frisk tactics were intended to frighten minority men into leaving any guns they owned at home. A precinct commander described “the right people” to stop, with a reference to young black men. And a statistical analysis of millions of police interactions revealed that few people subjected to stop-and-frisk methods had been engaging in wrongdoing. 
These three items of evidence were central to Judge Scheindlin’s conclusion that the Police Department has a policy of conducting stops “in a racially discriminatory manner.” 
In particular, the statement attributed to Mr. Kelly, as well as the phrase about the “right people,” served as the lens through which the judge interpreted a mountain of data about 4.4 million police stops. That data showed that stops overwhelmingly involved black and Hispanic people and that the people stopped were rarely found to be engaging in criminal activity. 
Judge Scheindlin found that the department operated on the notion that black and Hispanic people were the right people to stop — a theme, she wrote, that was evident in statements made by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg out of court, and in directives made by commanders during station house roll calls. 
The judge repeatedly cited testimony by the onetime highest ranking uniformed member of the department, Joseph J. Esposito, who was asked about the reasons for some stops. At one point, Mr. Esposito explained: “Well, who is doing those shootings? Well, it’s young men of color in their late teens, early 20s.” 
It was a similar sentiment that Judge Scheindlin detected in a recording of a deputy inspector exhorting a subordinate to conduct more stops. 
That meant stopping “the right people at the right time, the right location,” the deputy inspector, Christopher McCormack, said. Pressed on what he meant, he noted that black teenagers and young men were behind some crimes being committed in his precinct. 
At another point, Judge Scheindlin noted that Mr. Kelly had said, according to a state senator who was present for the conversation, that young black and Hispanic men were the focus of the stops because the commissioner “wanted to instill fear in them, every time they leave their home, they could be stopped by the police.”  

A key point is that New York City, with its income tax on rich people, can afford to pay cops to get in the face of shifty-looking people far more than most cities can. Without acting in an overtly discriminatory manner, NYC can afford to show its blacks and Latinos who is boss. If they find that awareness of who is top dog in New York these days depressing and want to move somewhere in America less affluent, well, Mayor Bloomberg wouldn't mind if they remembered, like the crack dealer at the end of Clockers who grabs a bus for Atlanta, that the Port Authority Bus Terminal is open 24/7.
Mr. Kelly had filed an affidavit denying that he made such a statement, but the judge credited the account of the state senator, Eric Adams, who testified during the trial. 
The city offered explanations for the statistics on millions of stops that so troubled Judge Scheindlin. The low arrest rate of people stopped reflected the fact that officers were proactively stopping criminals before they had a chance to go through with their crimes, according to city lawyers. And minorities were disproportionately stopped because they lived in the same high-crime neighborhoods where the police deployed many of its officers. 
But Judge Scheindlin was not swayed by those arguments. She concluded that the low arrest rate meant that the people who were being stopped were rarely the criminals the police sought; all they had in common was the color of their skin. 
“The city adopted a policy of indirect racial profiling by targeting racially defined groups for stops based on local crime suspect data,” she wrote.

Perhaps the way to logically unsnarl this is to think hard about the distinction between relative and absolute differences in stops. We're not supposed to think about differences in crime rates by race, so most of the more sophisticated thinking on the subject has been limited to pointing out that blacks are more prone to commit crime, while the unsophisticated gasp in shock. 

But, let me try to take this to another level and explain arithmetically why a realist like me has been uncomfortable with the disparate impact of Bloomberg's huge intensification of stop and frisk.

To help, let me make up some stylized numbers. Let's say that under Giuliani, the average young black man in New York city gets stopped once every 4 years and the average young white man gets stopped once every 40 years. Moreover, let's assume that that 10 to 1 racial ratio is reasonable considering differences in crime rates and so forth.

Then, under Bloomberg, the mayor and the police chief figure that, heck, New York is rich, so let's quadruple the number of stops. Now the average young black man is stopped every single year and the average young white man every ten years. The racial ratio remains the same ten to one, so how can anybody logically object to what Bloomberg is doing compared to what Giuliani did? The relative proportions remain the same, right? 

Okay ... but, think about the change in absolute rather than relative terms. Under Bloomberg, the number of stops a young black man can expect to endure per year has increased by 0.750 stops annually (from 0.250 to 1.000). For young white men, however the increase is only 0.075 stops (from 0.025 to 0.100). 

While these increases of 0.75 incremental stops for blacks divided by 0.075 incremental stops for white still give the same old relative racial ratio of 10 to 1, it's worth noting that 0.75 minus 0.075 gives an absolute increase in stops for blacks relatives to whites of .675 stops per year, which might be considered a serious quality of life degradation for young black men.

So, perhaps the question ought to be: rather than focusing on the reasonableness of the relative rates of blacks and whites being stopped and frisked, perhaps the focus should instead be on the absolute overall levels of stop and frisks. In other words, under any reasonable system, blacks are going to be stopped and frisked a lot more often than whites; but given the expectation of diminishing marginal returns, is the absolute number of stops and frisks under Bloomberg too high for the pain it inflicts on blacks relative to the gains in reduced crime?

The problem for the judge, however, is that Americans are much more comfortable with judges making decisions about relative matters (e.g., make sure blacks are treated fairly relative to whites) but not absolute matters (e.g., how much stopping and frisking to do). On the other, Americans aren't comfortable thinking hard about racial differences in crime rates, so handwaving is probably good enough.

More fundamentally, it's not all that clear that marginal returns diminish that fast. The NYC homicide rate keeps going down. It could be that, beyond the numbers about guns taken away and the like, stop and frisk may have slammed home a psychological shift away from the criminal energies unleashed during the civil rights era back to a more orderly and authority-fearing culture that preceded the 1960s. But, that's speculative.

34 comments:

countenance said...

Cops stopping blacks a lot doesn't make me uncomfortable at all.

Silver said...

Could it be possible to pay innocent for being stopped-and-frisked? Let's see.

Say there are 500,000 New Yorkers who fit the profile of people we might like to stop and frisk. Say 10% of them are stopped and frisked every day. That would mean that on average 50% of the 500,000 are stopped once a week, so these estimates are highly exaggerated. If each of them were paid $20 for each stop it would amount to $365 million a year, or less than $50 a year for each New Yorker. $50 isn't a huge amount of money for the peace of mind and racial goodwill it would buy. But of course in reality far fewer people are stopped, so the total cost of the program would be far less, even if more money were paid for each stop.

Wouldn't paying money simply encourage people to behave suspiciously in the hope of getting stopped? Yes it would, but the money should only be paid to those not behaving suspiciously, those who are innocently stopped. So those who behave suspiciously, who give police reason to stop them, would not be paid.

Just an idea.

NOTA said...

I'm skeptical that the stop and frisk policy has made much difference in crime, since other cities have mostly followed the same crime trends without it. My guess is, crime rates largely do what they do based on larger social forces, and only very big changes in policy (at the scale of doubling the number of people behind bars, say) have much impact on them. But at any given time, there are pet theories about how to stop crime--rehabilitation, midnight basketball, stop and frisk, broken windows, community policing, etc. This decade's pet theory gets applied, perhaps for trendiness reasons, perhaps because there really is some locally sensible reason to do it. Then, the crime rates do what they do. If they happen to go up, this decade's trendy idea is discredited and we move on to the next one. If they happen to go down, this decade's trendy idea is vindicated.

Human minds are *horrible* at figuring our cause and effect in this kind of situation. That's why they invented the randomized double-blind test for medicines--because otherwise, with the best will in the world, doctors will fool themselves into thinking their new miracle drug has an impact when it really is no better than the sugar pill.

This applies to a lot of other things--Fed policy and the economy, the effectiveness of various intelligence/homeland security tactics, trendy ideas in how to market a political campaign, etc.

NOTA said...

I think this is a useful line of thought. Profiling is a way to get a benefit for everyone (less crime) in a way that imposes extra cosfs on innocent members of high-crime groups. The right solution is probably to balance those two or to compensate the innocent black teens that get frisked.

Steve Sailer said...

" since other cities have mostly followed the same crime trends without it."

But New York got well out ahead of other cities in reducing homicide during the Giuliani-Bratton years. Bratton really was a good police chief with his statistic driven systems that were advanced for the 1990s.

So, NYC was far more likely to run into diminishing marginal returns in the 2000s. But, NYC just kept pushing the homicide rate to new, unexpected lows under Bloomberg. This doesn't prove stop and frisk works, but it doesn't disprove it either.

Auntie Analogue said...


Heh. Let's wait now for another liberal judge to come with "indirect disparate impact," or "indirect violation of civil rights," or "indirect hate crime," or "indirect exercise of white privilege," or "indirect denial of college admission."

This "indirect" precedent just opened a can of worms on which lawyers and self-appointed "watchdogs" like the SPLC will feast for decades to come. Another tool in the fists of anarcho-tyrants.

Anonymous said...

How did this become a case about racial profiling anyway? Didn't it start as a case about unreasonable search and seizure? That always seemed like a clear winner to me. Hasn't the constitutional test always been that there's supposed to be probable cause to believe that some particular crime has occurred, not just a cop's feeling that somebody "looks shifty" or because he's young and black and live in a high crime area. You're not supposed to tear up the constitution because it might help reduce crime. Sadistic tortures would work, too, but that's just one more thing that the constitution doesn't allow.

Hugh said...

I expect that more men than women are searched: is this also unreasonable in the light of this judgement's reasoning?

Dave Pinsen said...

There's a pretty easy way to avoid getting stopped if you're a young black man: wear a suit and glasses. There was a story in the NYT years ago about an upper middle class black woman who home schooled her son and let him travel around the city on his own to museums, etc.- she always made him wear a suit which kept him from getting stopped by cops and truant officers.

The two big mysteries to me about the drop in crime in New York are why it has continued to drop when these measures have been in place for years and why it is so low despite the lack of visible police presence in neighborhoods like the West Village or the Lower East Side. You go to the Village these days and you don't see many NAMs or police. It's almost all young whites with a smattering of Asians, looking completely unconcerned about crime. Women walk or jog by themselves late at night, chatting on their iPhones or listening to head phones.

Whiskey said...

Steve looks like I was right and you were wrong here. Stop and frisk is in conflict with every law and court decision post 1964 demanding White and Black absolute equality in everything including stops.

It was inevitable that it would be thrown out and NYC return to Taxi Driver or Deathwish days.

William said...

Let's assume that Bloomberg's version of Stop and Frisk does indeed reduce crime. Surely, whatever "quality of life degradation" young black men suffer by being stopped more often is greatly outweighed by the increase in their quality of life that comes from living in safer neighborhoods.

CJ said...

...the judge credited the account of the state senator, Eric Adams, who testified during the trial.

I wouldn't have credited anything by him. He's the longtime race hustler whose front organization was 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement.

Anonymous said...

I think stop and frisk is a good policy and should continue. However I am not convinced it is the reason for NYC crime drop. I think the fact that Puerto Ricans and Black Americans have left NYC in large numbers for points South. Leaving the city's Hispanic &Black population consisting more of immigrants and their kids. This demographic shift IMHO is the reason for NYC relative drop in crime compared to cities such as Chicago, Baltimore etc.

Anonymous said...

Most "Hispanics" in NYC are Caribbean and sometimes quite black looking.

They aren't Central America, or South American. They surely aren't Mediterranean either.

Anonymous said...

New York has a tremendous number of cops, for sure. Last year I had to go to Sloan Kettering Hospital on 67th and First Avenue (far east) on the same day that Obama was making a speech at or near Lincoln Ctr (in the 60's on the West Side). Police everywhere, Four uniformed police on every corner and all kinds of road blocks and an army around Lincoln Ctr.

What kind of threat to Obama might they be thinking to prevent? Like, what would the 4 cops on the SE corner of 68th and 2nd have done in some situation of danger to Obama's motorcade?

I think its good that NY has a lot of cops to prevent crime just by that show of force. Like the old signs in NY that had something to do with parking, "Don't even think about it." I remember the old days when you heard about muggings all the time.

kaganovitch said...

The likelyhood that Ray Kelly said anything of the sort in the presence of Adams is as plausible as George Zimmerman confessing to Al Sharpton. Rest assured it never happened.

Jill said...

In regards to Judge Scheindlin's order I am issuing the following orders:

!. Effective immediately all plainclothes street crime units are hereby withdrawn from minority majority neighborhood and will be directed to report to robbery/homicide units located in those neighborhoods. If they choose to do so, they will be allowed to hang out at a Dunkin Donuts nearest to their residence or play spades or play golf.

2. Normal routine uniformed patrols in those neighborhoods will be maintained.

3. All 911 calls from those neighborhoods involving gun crimes (shooting of a son, daughter, spouse, lover, shopkeeper, taxi driver, schoolchildren, etc.) will be first directed to Judge Scheindlin who will determine whether or not we can respond in a constitutionally approved manner. If requested, the call will be directed to Eric Adams, Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton who will issue their own assessments.

4. If we are permitted to respond, the first person on the scene will be a camera equipped federal monitor who will issue an "all clear" to our officers to come to the scene.

In the interest of transparency, I have instructed my Wall street broker to direct 10 percent of my holdings to privately owned funeral homes in the above affected areas.

May God Bless Judge Scheindlin, Eric Adams, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton for correcting this aberrant behavior by members of the NYPD.

Ray Kelley

Anonymous said...

"I'm skeptical that the stop and frisk policy has made much difference in crime, since other cities have mostly followed the same crime trends without it." - During the Zebra murders when the police did basically the same thing, they didn't catch the blacks responsible, but overall crime went down by a 3rd.

"
This "indirect" precedent just opened a can of worms on which lawyers and self-appointed "watchdogs" like the SPLC will feast for decades to come. Another tool in the fists of anarcho-tyrants." - They don't really need to add indirect to disparate impact, that is pretty much what disparate impact is.

Anonymous said...

Steve,
re your column on Stop & Frisk/fragility of Democratic coalition - This is a long time coming and there have been signs along the way. I was with the 1992 Jerry Brown campaing in NY (have no idea what he stood for as CA politician; liked antiestablishment message after stinky S&L bail-out; voted Perot in general).

In NY, we won quite a few delegates but had to hunt up blacks to fill the slots. Campaign workers were overwhelmingly white but you had to look a certain way for the Democratic convention so we gave delegate slots to people who did nothing for the campaign and did not support the campaign in order to have blacks. Today, you'd need to give a share to Hispanics. Thus leaving out whites - especially white males - who actually did support the campaign.

Remember Lynne De Rothschild,the Hillary supporter who went for McCain and campaigned with him because she was so outraged about Hillary getting shoved aside (and she knew it was because blacks voted 90%+ for Obama on race alone). Of course, a lot of Democrats were not upset about that because Hillary shoved people aside herself. The president's consort got to shove every Democrat in NY aside to grab a senate seat that would have gone to any D on the ballot in 2000.

Does it make sense that Deval Patrick is Gov. of MA? Or that Elizabeth Warrent got that Senate seat? Or Sheila Oliver speaker of Assembly in NJ? Cory Booker Senate nominee in NJ? (The black senator in SC doesn't make sense either and he's an R; that was pander.)

el supremo said...

Sailer's point on diminishing marginal returns is actually pretty clear in one of the leaked documents that helped kick off the whole suit - a set of tapes recorded by a disgruntled junior cop in Bed-Stuy.

http://www.villagevoice.com/2010-05-04/news/the-nypd-tapes-inside-bed-stuy-s-81st-precinct/

Despite the left leaning source, its a very interesting read and a very good granular picture of how the originally inventive Giuliani data-driven policing program has degenerated into a massive bureaucratic exercise based on falsified data, meeting arbitrary quotas through dubious arrests, and massaging crime reports to make them less serious.

Its important to understand stop and frisk not just through the lens of real racial differences in crime rates, but also through the lens of bureaucratic dysfunction.

Anonymous said...

I think a better answer is that there is a black crime problem which the New York media know exists but won't allow anyone to admit in public. At the same time the same New York media personally want to live in a safe environment.

The New York media's answer of covering up the harassing of black people off of Manhattan while pointing and spluttering at people who it elsewhere doesn't solve the problem for everybody. Once the cleansing of black people from Manhattan is complete it would solve the problem for the New York media living on Manhattan but not for everyone else.

Not only that but if the criminals displaced from New York by the covert cleansing got people killed in suburbs elsewhere the same New York media would start a lynch mob against anyone who complained about it.

Basically if the hostile elite wants something - safety from crime for example - that they deny everyone else then everyone else should try and screw it up for them.

The solution that would work for everyone is admit - after 50 yars of media lies and millions of unneccessary victims - that there is a problem with black violent crime rates.

Then something might be done about it which would ultimately be better for black people too.

In particular

1) Mass immigration of cheap labor that leads to whole neighborhoods of existing citizens becoming unemployed leads to social collapse and all kinds of dysgenic effects.

2) Allowing those abandoned neighborhoods to become dominated by street gangs fuels violent crime over multiple generations as the gang members - the most violent males in the neighborhood - get first pick of the females.

Anonymous said...

"I'm skeptical that the stop and frisk policy has made much difference in crime, since other cities have mostly followed the same crime trends without it."


IIRC New York and LA are well ahead of the curve.

I think you could write a pretty accurate and predictive formula for any crime rate in any locality and it would take this form:

rate for a particular crime = na*ra + nb*rb + nh*rh + nw*rw

where na, nb, nh, nw are number of individuals of each broad ethnic group within a specific age range for each type of crime generally varying somewhere around 16-26 or 16-30 and ra, rb, rh and rw were the rates for the different ethnic groups.

So nw*rw would be the product of the number of white individuals in that age range in that locality times the white crime rate for that crime.

All you'd need to do is count heads (of the right age range, this is very important) and then multiply by the respective ethnic crime rate and add the totals.

It would be even more accurate if it distinguished between the whitecollar and bluecollar segment of each population and the sub-divisions between very broad ethnic labels like Asian or Hispanic.

If a particular group has a much larger rate than the others and you simply reduce the n of that group in that locality then you'll reduce crime dramatically - except you won't really you'll displace it, either to inside prison (least bad option) or onto other people's children in other localities (New York media's preferred option).

LA is the same except there the media are covering up cleansing by driveby shooting rather than cleansing by police harassment.

This is because imo...

There are violent and other criminal traits. Different populations have these traits at different frequencies which are fixed at any one time but which can go up or down between generations depending on how reproductively successful they are - which in the modern world is mostly not very hence they have a tendency to decline except in speciific environments like gang-ruled ghettos.

Truth said...

"Steve looks like I was right and you were wrong here."

Yeah, get it together Steve-O.

Anonymous said...

Commenting on the merits of a decision that one hasn't read is hardly commendable behavior for a serious thinker and analyst.

Unfortunately, what many "tough on crime" folks refuse to understand or acknowledge is that the Constitution (1) applies to all Americans, regardless of color, and (2) prohibits the police from violating individual rights based merely on actual or perceived group differences. This is long established law, which the NYPD openly flouts and which the pro-NYPD crowd blithely ignores.

Judge Scheindlin did nothing more than apply the law to the NYPD's egregious misconduct.

Those who disagree with the opinion as a matter of policy (there can be no disagreement with the legal principles articulated in the decision, and few disagreements with the judge's factual findings) should be honest with themselves that they are not "constitutionalists" or "civil libertarians or believers in limited government or even "law and order." They are supporters of an unconstitutional police state, so long as it is not directed at them.

Anonymous said...

Judge Scheindlin found that the department operated on the notion that black and Hispanic people were the right people to stop — a theme, she wrote, that was evident in statements made by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg out of court, and in directives made by commanders during station house roll calls.



The question of whether the black and Hispanic people in question (all of them young men with a particular style of dress) actually were the right people to stop is not one the jackass in robes bothered to answer.

Anonymous said...

Profiling is a way to get a benefit for everyone (less crime) in a way that imposes extra cosfs on innocent members of high-crime groups. The right solution is probably to balance those two or to compensate the innocent black teens that get frisked.


They are compensated. They are compensated by their reduced risk of getting murdered or beaten up or robbed. The most frequent victims of black and Hispanic crime are other blacks and Hispanics.

Marc B said...

"How did this become a case about racial profiling anyway? Didn't it start as a case about unreasonable search and seizure? That always seemed like a clear winner to me. "You're not supposed to tear up the constitution because it might help reduce crime"

My sentiments exactly. It's particularly annoying because these policies benefit urban leftists like Kal Penn.

Anonymous said...

http://www.npr.org/2013/08/16/212527905/doctors-without-borders-pulls-out-of-somalia

Open Borders Doctors not a good idea.
But Open Borders Patients still on the menu. Send all the Somalis to Maine!! Since Mainese voted for Obama, let them have the flood of Open Borders Patients.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Bloomberg installed so many cameras and devices over the yrs that NY can now ease up on stop-and-frisk. Maybe they're all revved up for watch-and-catch. Maybe they got camera on every street and a donut shop with plain clothes policeman on every corner. So, no more need for S&F.

In the future, they'll prolly have high-tech robot cop androids with x-ray eyes who can see who has guns and who doesn't. And maybe underskin inserts will track who was where and when at all times.
Minority Report, here it comes.
There could be walking terminator cops.

In MR, the city uses precogs to prevent crime, but maybe the city can get rid of precogs since technology has improved to such degree that they are other ways.

Indeed, the very premise of MR doesn't make much sense. The city is so technologicalized that Tom Cruise is tracked wherever he goes and has to be on the run all the time. So why would a city like that need precogs to prevent crime? It's like everyone is watched all the time even without precogs.

It could be that during the last 10yrs, NY has become so technologicalized that every corner is being watched and tracked at all times.
So, maybe there is a wink wink understanding between Bloomy and the judge. They act like they're in disagreement, but maybe they're reading from the same script book. Bloomy needed time to install the new technology. During that time, S&F was necessary. Now, that the technology is in place, S&F can be ended, and maybe even Bloomy wants it that way, but he doesn't wanna seem to be doing a 180 degree turn. So, he says one thing while secretly going along with the judge who ended S&F. It's just speculation, but it's possible.

Anonymous said...

"...like the crack dealer at the end of Clockers who grabs a bus for Atlanta..."

Huperetes asks: Why was this phrase was lifted from the vdare.com edition?

(For an "aging pundit" you sure are culturally plugged in. Some guys, like me, need all the cultural tip offs we can get e.g. Die Antwoord from your latest article at Taki's.)

Just askin'.




Anonymous said...

"Unfortunately, what many "tough on crime" folks refuse to understand or acknowledge is that the Constitution (1) applies to all Americans, regardless of color, and (2) prohibits the police from violating individual rights based merely on actual or perceived group differences."

If the media told the truth about crime and the problem could be discussed openly and honestly like it was an actual democracy and not a mediocracy then i think the optimal solution that would be arrived at would swap the war on drugs for a war on gangs.

That would apply everywhere though and not just where the media live.

Shemme said...

"While these increases of 0.75 incremental stops for blacks divided by 0.075 incremental stops for white still give the same old relative racial ratio of 10 to 1, it's worth noting that 0.75 minus 0.075 gives an absolute increase in stops for blacks relatives to whites of .675 stops per year, which might be considered a serious quality of life degradation for young black men.

So, perhaps the question ought to be: rather than focusing on the reasonableness of the relative rates of blacks and whites being stopped and frisked, perhaps the focus should instead be on the absolute overall levels of stop and frisks. In other words, under any reasonable system, blacks are going to be stopped and frisked a lot more often than whites; but given the expectation of diminishing marginal returns, is the absolute number of stops and frisks under Bloomberg too high for the pain it inflicts on blacks relative to the gains in reduced crime?"


- You're looking at the trees instead of the forest. Is one stop per year really a 'serious quality of life degradation'? I've been stopped by the police a few times. Its annoying, a bit scary even, but if you're doing nothing wrong, they let you go shortly, and you're back about your day. Maybe you gripe a little to your girlfriend or friends about "damn pigs" a bit later that day, but its hardly a serious degradation to one's life. Maybe if it were happening daily. But once a year? No. Definitely it is worth it when you consider how much it reduces crime- that it keeps a random father of 4 from catching a stray bullet in the noodle or a 12 yr old child from being sold drugs. That's worth a black kid being a little annoyed. I know not to liberals, but to a rational unbiased observer. Frankly,if blacks would behave themselves better as a community, they'd soon find themselves being frisked at the white rates.

And let me add something else to the equation- I'd further argue that the very same blacks who are having to be annoyed by a frisking once a year are the biggest beneficiaries of the reduction in crime. They would have been the most likely victims,even though most of them don't bother to think deeply enough about it to realize that. And some of the would-be perps are likely driven away from committing a crime from increased fear of being caught. Long term that should sink in psychologically to become a normal way of life and makes them less likely to commit crime even if they move away later and are no longer under the stop and frisk regimen. To paraphrase Nietzsche,"a thief without opportunity calls himself an honest man". These guys benefit from staying out of jail and living a normal life.

John Lynch said...

"Unfortunately, what many "tough on crime" folks refuse to understand or acknowledge is that the Constitution (1) applies to all Americans, regardless of color, and (2) prohibits the police from violating individual rights based merely on actual or perceived group differences."


Your problem here is that the searches are based upon a reasonable suspicion of crime. The cops are perfectly within the law to sear

But hey, when our rights to free association, life, liberty and pursuit of happiness, free speech, freedom of religion, securing our borders, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, checks and balances are maintained (i.e.- Obama can't just decree whatever the hell he wants) etc are enforced as indicated in the Constitution, Declaration of Independence, and Bill of Rights, then I'll be a bit more concerned about this.

Anonymous said...

"It could be that, beyond the numbers about guns taken away and the like, stop and frisk may have slammed home a psychological shift away from the criminal energies unleashed during the civil rights era back to a more orderly and authority-fearing culture that preceded the 1960s. But, that's speculative."

Possibly true but it should be noted that the "criminal energies" released had little to do with the "civil rights era" which was ongoing long since before the 1960s. Brown vs Board for example was being litigated years before its 1954 issuance. There was plenty of Civil Rights agitation by the blacks BEFORE 1960, but little crime was "unleashed" as a result. As of 1960, well AFTER Brown, and King's Bus Boycott for example (and other Civil Rights action) the murder rate had actually been DROPPING in the United States. The famous Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955) and Civil Rights measures (weak though they were under Ike) did not cause any unusual crime "unleashing" lest any make that interpretation.