Stop and Frisk

I normally don’t comment on topical, symbolic issues like this, preferring instead to write about issues that I myself raise, issues that I know more about. And I’ve pretty much given up writing about solutions, because I have come to realize that solutions based on my assumptions – that everyone has equal value and the future and those who will live in it matter, for example – are not what politicians are looking for. And yet so much nonsense is being tossed around on the subject of “stop and frisk” that I feel compelled to comment, because those throwing the nonsense are in effect pretending that their pandering is cost free and will not result in losses elsewhere. This is the usual free political free shot – pander to one constituency, and blame any responsible suckers for the associated consequences.

Several facts need to be considered. According to the Statistical Abstract of the United States, New York City’s overall crime rate, once well above the U.S. average, is now well below U.S. average, although the city remains above average in the one crime that it seems to specialize in – robbery. In March 2002, according the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of New York City police officers was 2.9 times the U.S. average relative to population, and in FY 2011 it was still 2.81 times the U.S. average. In 2010, according to the 2012 financial report of the New York City Police Pension fund, there were 34,600 active members working, earning an average of $100,127. And 44,630 retired members, receiving an average of $40,200, free of state and local income taxes, with automatic increases each year. In the January 2006 Financial Plan from the NYC Office of Management and Budget, FY 2006 judgments and claims against the NYPD were projected to total $101 million. In the February 2013 Financial Plan, the estimate for this fiscal year is $180 million. I’ll discuss these facts and others at “Saying the Unsaid in New York.”