For and against ‘stop-and-frisk’

August 22, 2013

I don’t often agree with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, but in response to his Aug. 19 op-ed, “ ‘Stop and frisk’ is not racial profiling,” I must say, bravo, Mr. Mayor, for standing up to the politically correct zealots.

If the facts say that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to commit crime (and to be the victims of crime), then the majority of police resources must be targeted at black and Hispanic areas. If the facts say that people who exhibit certain behaviors are more likely to commit crime, then police resources must be targeted at them. Simple as that. Instead of whining about racism, how about modifying your behavior?

I particularly enjoyed Mr. Bloomberg’s point about stopping more women. Since liberals are so obsessed with perfect 50-50 equality, then perhaps the New York Police Department should ensure that 50 percent of the people they stop are women, irrespective of how likely women are to commit crimes. I’d love to see the feminists cheer for that kind of equality.

Michael Vann, Alexandria

Regarding Richard Cohen’s Aug. 20 op-ed column, “Bloomberg’s failed crusades”:

The Bill of Rights is designed to promote the rights of the individual against the majority’s perception of the collective good; sometimes we prohibit the technocratic approach, even if it’s the most effective “statistically.” Under our Constitution, criminals go free and rabble-rousers go unpunished. That’s what it means to be “the land of the free,” not “the land of the safe.”

Benjamin J. Cooper, Alexandria

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s defense of the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) stop-and-frisk program fell flat. For many years there were cries of police harassment from minority neighborhoods in his city, but those cries were waved off with pious pronouncements that the police were operating within the law. Then, at last, the controversial program made its way into a court of law.

After hearing both sides, the judge found that Mr. Bloomberg “acted with deliberate indifference toward the NYPD’s practice of making unconstitutional stops and conducting unconstitutional frisks.” That indifference is now on full display as Bloomberg slings mud at the federal judge who called out his administration.

Tim Lynch, Washington

The writer is director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.

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