NYPD's Ray Kelly: 'Stop and Frisk' Saved 7,383 Lives

Image: NYPD's Ray Kelly: 'Stop and Frisk' Saved 7,383 Lives

Monday, 22 Jul 2013 10:52 PM

By Cathy Burke

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New York City's Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly — favored by local politicians to head the nation's Department of Homeland Security but assailed by critics for the NYPD's "stop and frisk" policy — staunchly defended the tactic for taking "tens of thousands" of weapons off the street and saving 7,383 lives.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal, the city's top cop touted a precipitous drop in the city's murder rate during Michael Bloomberg's administration -- from 13,212 murders in the 11 years before the Republican took office to 5,849 murders during his term.

Editor’s Note: Should Obama Use Zimmerman Verdict to Ban Guns?

"That's 7,383 lives saved—and if history is a guide, they are largely the lives of young men of color," Kelly wrote in the piece, which appeared online Monday night, adding murders are down 29 percent so far this year from 2012's 50-year low.

But to critics, Kelly wrote, "none of this seems to much matter." He blasted charges that the NYPD's tactics are blatant racial profiling.

"Sidestepping the fact that these policies work, they continue to allege that massive numbers of minorities are stopped and questioned by police for no reason other than their race," he wrote, calling the criticism "disingenuous" and "incendiary" in the wake of the Zimmerman case.

"As a city, we have to face the reality that New York's minority communities experience a disproportionate share of violent crime," he wrote. "To ignore that fact, as our critics would have us do, would be a form of discrimination in itself."

Kelly said the NYPD's "stop and frisk" strategy, focusing on minority neighborhoods with spikes in crime, is based on a "rock-solid legal and constitutional foundation."

Noting it's "understandable that someone who has done nothing wrong will be angry if he is stopped," Kelly said the NYPD has strengthened both oversight and training.

He also disputed contentions the NYPD spies on Muslim New Yorkers, calling it "a sensational charge" that "belied by the facts," and insisting the department adheres to guidelines developed to protect people engaged in political protest.

"Anyone who implies that it is unlawful for the police department to search online, visit public places or map neighborhoods has either not read, misunderstood or intentionally obfuscated the meaning" of the strictures, known as the Handschu Guidelines.

New York's senior Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer first mentioned Kelly as a perfect candidate to replace outgoing Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, but he's won the bipartisan support of New York's Republican Congressman Peter King as well.

Editor’s Note: Should Obama Use Zimmerman Verdict to Ban Guns?

President Obama himself called the top cop “well-qualified” to run the department during an interview with Univision’s affiliate in the New York/New Jersey area.

No successor has yet been named for Napolitano, who is leaving to head the University of California system.

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