On Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appearance on John Gambling’s radio show this morning, Mr. Bloomberg defended the NYPD’s controversial stop-and-frisk policies from critics who are pointing to the fact that as the number of stops has increased from 160,000 a year in 2003 to 685,000 last year, the percentage of stops to yield a gun has also dropped off significantly.
“What we do know is that the number of guns that we’ve been finding has continued to go down which says that the program at this scale is doing a great job,” Mr. Bloomberg said when Mr. Gambling asked what the right number of stops is. “The whole idea here John is not to catch people with guns it’s to prevent people from carrying guns.”
He then compared it to stopping potentially drunk drivers.
“It’s like a stop we have for driving while intoxicated,” he said. “It would be great if everybody said ‘Oh my goodness, I might get stopped so I’m not going to drink and drive.’ That’s great. That’s what we want. That would be wonderful.”
“The fact that we’re getting fewer guns says that the program is working,” he added. “The program will have really succeeded when we don’t find any guns.”
Meanwhile, the criticism of the policies is getting louder from the set of top mayoral candidates in 2013. In addition to Mr. Bloomberg’s office directly blasting Public Advocate Bill de Blasio’s call for reform and Comptroller John Liu calling for a complete end to the practice, a third mayoral contender, former Comptroller Bill Thompson firmly reiterated his belief that stop-and-frisk needs to end as its being used today — but continuing to exist in some form — on Inside City Hall last night.