Mayor Bloomberg often says New York City is "the safest big city in the country." Lowering crime rates and getting illegal guns off the streets have been a major part of Mayor Bloomberg’s three terms in office, but not without controversy.
From counter-intelligence operations in Muslim neighborhoods to stop-question-and-frisk tactics in high-crime areas, the Mayor's crime polices have riled many New Yorkers. And as part of WFUV's series on Bloomberg's New York, Claudia Morell went to one section in Brooklyn where being stopped has become a normal part of life
[Listen to Audio at the bottom]
31,100. That's how many stops
the 75th precinct made in East New York in 2011. That's an average of 85 stops a day.
Source: New York City Police Department
"I'm 47 years old and I get stopped twice a week, at least…at least once a week...no I haven't thank God, but I know a lot of my family has, though...about two or three times...a couple of times just walking in the train...maybe over 50 times...I've been stopped over 10-15 times...maybe 5-6 times...all the time, walking around this corner, all the time. This is East New York."
People I spoke with said they were stopped going to work or school, on their way to the store, or for walking in large groups.
East New York has one of the highest crime rates in the city. There have been 27 shooting incidents and 7 murders this year
alone, so not all residents oppose stop and frisk, like 20-year resident Al Alfred.
"If they can keep the guns off the street, I don't have to worry about anything, you know,” said Alfred, “then it becomes a neighborhood, not a hunting place."
Source: Claudia Morell, WFUV
Overall crime in the 75th precinct has gone down. Shooting incidents are down 41% since Bloomberg took office 12 years ago. There are also less murders, robberies and felony assaults. And in 2012, the NYPD made 6,692 fewer stops.
But many say they don't feel the streets are any safer, while some question if the daily stops are worth it, like long-time resident Nick, who was sitting outside with friends on Belmont Street.
“It’s uncomfortable," said Nick, "because we are in America, where they say the 'land of the free', and we are not free to move about how we want to without being harassed."
2011 data shows that of the 31,100 stops, close to 89% resulted in no arrest or summons.