Today in Fear-Based Policies

Via Politico:  Kelly: ‘No question’ people will die if stop-and-frisk ends

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says there’s "no question" more people would die if the city’s next mayor ends the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which a federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional.

"No question about it, violent crime will go up," Kelly said Sunday on NBC’s "Meet the Press: when host David Gregory asked if more people would die.

The defense is hardly a surprise, as it the basis of the entire policy:  violating the rights of innocent persons is ok because, after all, there are criminals out there and you want to be safe, right?

This is hardly new, but it does seem like far too many policies of late fit this paradigm (see, e.g., the TSA, the NSA, drones, etc.).

FILED UNDER: Crime, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. al-Ameda says:

    New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly says there’s “no question” more people would die if the city’s next mayor ends the controversial stop-and-frisk policy, which a federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional.

    That was a prodigiously stupid and irresponsible remark by Kelly. Essentially, he’s saying that there is no way that police officers can do their jobs without unconstitutional methods, and with respect for the people of New York City.

  2. Thomas de Cive says:

    “”No question about it, violent crime will go up,” Kelly said Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press: when host David Gregory asked if more people would die.”

    The state has always promised to ensure “security” of the population in exchange for law abiding citizens giving up their wholesale right to self defense… essence depriving the individual the right to defend himself in exchange for having the state “ensuring” his security.
    So…..a state apparatchik is admitting that the state’s assumption of ensuring “security” depends on an increased level of totalitarianism.

    I noticed quite keenly that absolutely NO consideration has been given to allowing the citizenry more liberty in ensuring their own security…..just an insistence by the state that a more rigorous surrender of individual rights is necessary to ensure “public safety”.

    Pray tell…..why dont we just build prison blocks throughout NYC and make the population live under the rules of a parole environment and a “work release” like program…..surely if everyone is in jail already, “security” can be ensured for all.

    You know….I never thought some quotes from a couple of guys that’ve been dead for over 200 years would resonate today, but it does.

    “Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom. It is the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.”…..William Pit the Younger.

    “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”……Benjamin Franklin

  3. ernieyeball says:

    @Thomas de Cive:

    …why dont we just build prison blocks throughout NYC…

    The 1981 film “Escape From New York” predicted this scenario for 1997.
    Maybe you should come up with an original idea.

  4. bill says:

    @al-Ameda: true, they should just let the trash take each other out- usually nobody cares until some innocents get caught in the crossfire. but hey, i don’t have to live there so who really cares? the judge lives in a low-crime part of town too, so it’s all good.

  5. Tyrell says:

    My biggest concern if I lived there would be getting caught breaking that large soft drink law.

  6. bill says:

    @Tyrell: take the stairs too, no elevator for you! bloomie wants to put handprint sensors on the public housing doors- the locals aren’t too happy with that either,

  7. JKB says:

    This whole issue is bogus. No one on either side seems to want to discuss the issue intelligently. Such as, with the program having run so long as a whole and under Kelly and Bloomberg, what has been done to discover why the police are so poor at distinguishing “suspicious” behavior? The hit rat is what? 3 or 4% of the number of stops?

    Seems like with all this experience that they could refine their criteria so that they better target those where the probable cause proves valid? Seems like a serious bit of government waste and inefficiency. Unless, of course, the real purpose is to harass the neighborhood as a whole rather than just target criminal activity.

  8. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: According to the NYTimes of 9 May ’12, “Last year the police seized 780 guns 685,724 stop-and-frisk encounters, meaning that officers made 879 stops for each gun found.”

  9. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @JohnMcC: Look, if only one child’s life is saved, then isn’t it worth it?

  10. JKB says:


    That’s my point. These stops have been going on for two decades, why hasn’t the NYPD developed some skill in their identification of those to be stopped. The stats sound like no more than random chance.

    The numbers indicate there is little or no skill involved in the police “furtive” movement spotting and determination of probable cause.

  11. refn says:

    If we’re lucky, the first casualties will be the likes of Kelly.

  12. ernieyeball says:

    @refn: Advocating death for your political opponents is just about as bereft of class and intelligence as you can get.

  13. Ron Beasley says:

    Those in power have always used fear to maintain and increase power. That’s why organized religion was created – do what we say or you will go to hell. Since 911 both the Bush and Obama administrations have used it to increase their power. Nothing new here – it’s been going on for thousands of years.

  14. Caj says:

    Police shouldn’t be able to stop and frisk anyone without justifiable cause. Just because the people they choose are of a certain group which the majority have been that is not a justifiable cause! Kelly and Bloomberg have lost the plot. What they’re doing is making people more distrustful of the police and that is not the result they wanted!!

  15. JohnMcC says:

    @JKB: And my point was that you have a settled opinion that is backed up by complete ignorance of the facts. As it happens, I agree with you about stop and frisk. I find your ignorance repellant.

  16. bill says:

    @JohnMcC: the “facts” are that over 95% of all crime in nyc is committed by blacks/hispanics (often the victim is too), so the criteria would seem to be those who fit that description. cops will figure a way around it, they always do. and now that nypd is predominately minority it’s not “racist” anymore….although it is, but i t works.

  17. bill says:

    this just in, seems detroit has caught on to the logic! I don’t know what constitutes a “spike” in violence up there but it can’t be good.


    The city of Detroit is seeing a new spike in violence. Manpower is down, but murders and shootings are on the rise. Now, police are looking for a solution that is causing controversy in New York City, called stop-and-frisk.

  18. JohnMcC says:

    @bill: Gosh, Mr Bill, my computer didn’t show me the link to the “facts” you cite. Must be an old model or something. So I was left with the difficult task of actually, uhhh, “looking it up”, you know?

    Somehow it seems that the NYPD publishes an annual report the includes this kind of statistic. Want to know the “real facts”?

    Black: Victims — 36.5% Suspect — 49.5% Arrestee — 36.5%
    Hispanic: Victims — 25.4% Suspect — 29.8% Arrestee — 36.4%
    White: Victims — 28.9% Suspect — 17% Arrestee — 22.9%

    Please don’t bother me again with “facts” pulled out of your @$$.

  19. bill says:

    @JohnMcC: that’s misdemeanors, here’s the murders – coulda scrolled down another few pages- wasn’t that hard. most of the violent crimes are in that range as well, I was using %s from a few years ago, not much different. so s&f was actually beneficial to minorities, you’re welcome…..

    Black: Victims – 60.1% Suspect -53.7% Arrestee – 51.4%

    Hispanic: Victims- 26.7% Suspect – 34.8% Arrestee- 36.7%

    White: Victims – 8.7% Suspect – 8.7% Arrestee – 9.2%

    Population (est.)
    Black 22.8%
    Hispanic 28.8%
    White 33.1%