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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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