Bloomberg touts drop in NYC murder rate in defending 'stop and frisk'

Bloomberg touts drop in NYC murder rate in defending 'stop and frisk'

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (D) on Tuesday defended his administration's implementation of controversial "stop and frisk" policies for the New York City police department, saying the move was necessary to battle the city's murder rate.

In a speech to the United States Naval Academy's 2019 Leadership Conference, first reported by CNN, the former mayor was reportedly questioned about "controversies surrounding your support of the policy of stop and frisk that was being used by law enforcement to target African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans."

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"We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system," Bloomberg responded. "Kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it."

"The result of that was, over the years, the murder rate in New York City went from 650 a year to 300 a year when I left," he added.

New York City's murder rate fell over Bloomberg's tenure as mayor but continued to drop after he left office even though the policies were discontinued. A report from local news affiliate ABC 7 this month found that the city's murder rate had fallen to record lows, a drop of about 1 percent from last year.

Bloomberg and the city's police faced intense criticism over the stop and frisk policy while in office, which criminal justice activists decried as allowing racist police officers to unfairly target minorities on the street.

"We certainly did not pick somebody by race," Bloomberg said Wednesday, addressing that criticism. "It was a program which we had, and then, when the number of guns we were confiscating started to fall and people left their guns at home, we tailed that off."

President TrumpDonald John TrumpThorny part of obstruction of justice is proving intent, that's a job for Congress Obama condemns attacks in Sri Lanka as 'an attack on humanity' Schiff rips Conway's 'display of alternative facts' on Russian election interference MORE, a supporter of the policy, has suggested that stop and frisk be implemented in other cities such as Chicago, where the murder rate continues to vex city officials.

"We want to straighten it out and straighten it out fast. There's no reason for what’s going on there," Trump told law enforcement officials in October. "[Stop and frisk] works, and it was meant for problems like Chicago."