Stop-and-Frisk Fades Away Under New Mayor, Crime Goes Down Anyway

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The mayor of New York City wants you to know that violent crime is down, down, down:

Robberies, considered the most telling indicator of street crime, are down 14 percent across New York City from last year. Grand larcenies — including the thefts of Apple devices that officials said drove an overall crime increase two years ago — are also down, by roughly 3 percent.

And after a record-low 335 homicides in 2013, the city has seen 290 killings in the first 11 months of this year, a number unheard-of two decades ago. “When I came into this job, people always talked about last year — last year was an amazing year in this city in terms of bringing down crime,” Mr. de Blasio said. “We saw what was possible. The city’s crime rate continues to go down.”

Previous police commissioners have insisted that New York’s mass stop-and-frisk program was an essential part of the city’s fight against violent crime. “No question about it,” said Ray Kelly last year after a federal judge struck down the program. “Violent crime will go up.” And mayor Michael Bloomberg agreed: If you try to so much as reform stop-and-frisk, he warned the city council, you’re “playing politics with people’s lives.” But as you can see from the chart on the right, stop-and-frisk did indeed go down and violent crime did not go up. Instead it went down. Just like it has for the past 20 years.

It almost makes you think that something else entirely must be going on. But what?

POSTSCRIPT: Yes, I’m crowing a bit here. I predicted a year ago that Bill de Blasio couldn’t really do anything to screw up New York City’s progress in reducing violent crime, and it turns out I was right. So there.

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