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Stop-and-frisk helps keep city safe from crime

TimesLedger Newspapers

The recent attacks on stop-and-frisk, a constitutional tool employed by the city Police Department, are outrageous. This program, instituted in under Police Commissioner William Bratton and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has helped bring down major crime rates in the city to an all-time low, to the levels seen in the 1950s.

The recent federal lawsuit by proponents against stop-and-frisk, the request of a federal monitor by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to examine all stop-and-frisks performed by the police and the recent bills passed by the City Council will lead to an increase in city crime.

If you study cities like Chicago and New Orleans, which do not employ stop-and-frisk, crime rates are rising alarmingly. There are an incredible amount of murders and shootings in these cities. Interestingly, Philadelphia, which has an African-American mayor and an African-American police commissioner who both supported and employed stop-and-frisk and were forced to accept a federal monitor, have now seen their crime rates increase.

Stop-and-frisk is used to stop gang culture and eliminate guns and drugs from the streets. Most crimes are committed in these communities by minorities against minorities. You will not see these same crimes committed on Park, Fifth or Madison avenues.

A police officer must have the ability to stop a crime from occurring when he or she, upon reasonable suspicion, suspects that a person is about to commit a crime or has committed a crime. Those screaming loudly against stop-and-frisk in these minority communities do not represent the everyday people in their communities who yearn for safety for themselves and their families.

Stop-and-frisk is a useful tool to eliminate drug sales, guns and gangs from the streets. If criminals are targeted, crime will be reduced, as is evidenced in the reduction of crime citywide despite the lower number of police officers. To their credit, video cameras and DNA evidence have been crucial in lowering crime, but stop-and-frisk is also a tool that must continue to be employed for us to live in a safe city.

There is no question that stop-and-frisk can be abused by a bad officer, but there are plenty of checks and balances to determine this abuse. A card has to be filled out by each officer who stops and frisks a person, and a supervisor reviews the same.

The politicians who touted and celebrated the gun reform legislation in New York state are themselves hypocritical in failing to advocate for stop-and-frisk, which is a major weapon in eliminating illegal guns from the streets.

We need to remind ourselves of the numerous times law enforcement has thwarted terrorist acts by using stop-and-frisk. This enforcement tool is crucial not only for crime in the city but to stop terrorism and protect the innocent lives of so many people.

We as citizens have no problems being stopped and frisked when we go to certain events, clubs, ball parks, concerts, courts and government buildings.

Our seniors, children, families and neighbors who work hard every day and pay their share of taxes, fees and costs of living in this city deserve at a minimum to be protected from crime. It is the least expectation to request that our government to protect us against crime.

Please make sure you vote out those who are essentially guaranteeing higher crime rates in the city by trying to eliminate stop-and-frisk. Shame on the politicians who support the elimination of stop-and-frisk and the appointment of a federal monitor.

By shackling the hands of law enforcement, this city will be destroyed and we will become a dangerous city like Chicago or New Orleans. Our elected officials who are eliminating stop-and-frisk should not feed us nonsense about gun control when they surreptitiously protect the gun hooligans and those perpetrating crimes.

John J. Ciafone

City Council Candidate

Astoria

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