New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s decision to curtail the stop-and-frisk policies of his predecessor has “handcuffed” police powers, leading to a spike in violent crime, police officials say.
The New York City Police Department‘s supervisors and union leaders are blaming the controversial mayor for new statistics that show murders jumped 19.5 percent during the first five months of the year, and shootings increased 9 percent, the New York Daily News reported Friday. The spikes coincide with a 42 percent drop in stop-and-frisk encounters.
“What you’re seeing now are the perps carrying their guns because they’re not afraid to carry them,” Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association told the Daily News. “We’ve created an atmosphere where we’ve handcuffed the police. We are sitting back, taking a less proactive approach.”
One unnamed high-ranking police official wondered about the impact on officers’ mindset.
“Based on this year’s drop . . . absent any other factor, you have to ask the question: Are the cops now reluctant to engage?” he said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton has said he wants quality over quantity in police stops, along with more boots on the streets and targeted enforcement on known criminals.
“The guys I talk to all feel the same way: De Blasio doesn’t want stops,” an unnamed Bronx officer said Thursday, according to the Daily News. “The perps know what we’re doing. We’re not stopping as many people as we used to.”
Another unnamed Brooklyn police supervisor told the Daily News that cops are now afraid to stop suspects.
“No one wants to get jammed up,” he said. “They’re telling us the stops have to be quality stops. But if you make a stop, and you think it’s a good one, and the guy has nothing on him, is that a good stop?”
Some New Yorkers are pleased with the agency’s new approach.
“The vast majority of the time, it’s a way to harass young men of color,” 25-year-old martial arts instructor Tauren Murphy told the Daily News, “The shootings are unfortunate, but there should be more police in the community, working with the community and not just showing up when there is trouble.”
De Blasio’s supporters may be pleased by his policies, despite the “unfortunate” incidents, but the families of murder victims are not celebrating.
Bronx teenager Christopher Duran, 14, was struck by 16 bullets and killed in what police are calling a gang-related shooting. The 16-year-old suspect in the case remained on the run Thursday, according to the Daily News. Duran’s mother said that if the suspect had been stopped and frisked that night, her son may still be alive.
One local man agreed.
“If they have nothing to hide, you shouldn’t be worried about being searched,” said Oliver David, whom the Daily News identified as a 45-year-old hotel manager. “If they stop someone who has a weapon, you prevent violence from happening later,” he said. “There has been more violence lately. A 14-year-old got shot around here. I saw his body on the street. Nobody wants that.”