] Mona Charen
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Jewish World Review April 15, 1999 /29 Nissan 5759

Mona Charen

Mona Charen
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Hooray for the NYPD

(JWR) ---- (http://www.jewishworldreview.com)
THE RACE HUSTLERS, hate mongers and assorted leftovers from failed city administrations past are ganging up on Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York. Even some Hollywood celebrities, like Susan Sarandon, are showing up to have themselves arrested outside the mayor's office, along with the usual suspects, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

The putative reason for their protest is the mistaken shooting of African immigrant Amadou Diallo by four New York policemen. The true reason for their protest is a desire to stigmatize and therefore reverse the most amazing urban turnaround since the great Chicago fire of 1871.

The miracle that the Giuliani administration has wrought in New York City is so dramatic that it has stunned even those who planned it. As John Podhoretz details in The Weekly Standard, the city's overall crime rate has been cut in half in just five years -- with minority neighborhoods benefiting the most. On the Lower East Side, the murder rate has dropped 81 percent since 1994, burglaries are down 72 percent, and rapes have declined by 60 percent. The numbers are comparable in other formerly hazardous neighborhoods.

The drop in crime, petty and serious, is not, as the Giuliani critics would have it, a mere artifact of a booming economy and a drop in the teenage population. As former Police Chief William Bratton and William Andrews argue in the spring edition of the City Journal, New York has maintained an unemployment rate of between 8 percent and 10 percent throughout the last six years. That's double the national average. And the teenage population has remained steady, except among minorities, where it rose.

Birds of a feather?
Dinkins and Sharpton
Nor has this urban peace been purchased at the price of a police reign of terror. Though the police department has been expanded by 3,000 officers since 1991, police shootings have declined. In 1995, the police used their guns 344 times. By 1998, the number had declined to 249. And fatalities in police shootings have dropped, too. In 1996, 30 of the shootings resulted in death. In 1998, 19 died at the hands of the police.

There are a few key race hustlers in New York, most notably Al Sharpton, who can stoke the tiniest spark of misunderstanding into a raging flame of racial animosity. Sharpton came to national attention by appointing himself an "adviser" to hoaxer Tawana Brawley. He went on to incite a near riot in Harlem at a shop owned by a Jewish merchant. Someone took the bait and torched the place, killing an innocent man. And Sharpton shows up whenever he sees a chance to encourage race hatred -- his most recent contribution was persuading Abner Luima, the black man brutalized by New York police, to say that the cops had said, "It's Giuliani time!" before inflicting their torture.

(This was later unmasked as a total fraud.)

The revival of the New York Police Department was no fluke. As Bratton and Andrews make clear, the department was reorganized from top to bottom by the Giuliani administration. Cops were taken out of their patrol cars and put back on the streets. Computers were enlisted to keep track of where crimes were occurring, and these data were cross-referenced with information about the whereabouts of parolees.

Stop-and-frisk operations netted thousands of illegal guns, and the police studiously denied criminals their infrastructure by going after fences, chop shops, auto exporters and prostitution customers. Precinct commanders were given more authority, and Compstat, the information gathering system, helped them target high-crime areas. Most famously, the police got tough on "quality of life" offenses like blasting a radio or panhandling. In the process, they made New York's streets nicer places for the law-abiding and nabbed a good number of serious criminals along the way.

The Sharptons and David Dinkins of the world were happier when New York was overrun by "squeegee men" extorting cash from motorists, drug dealers strutting the streets unafraid, and teenagers openly swigging beer and vaulting over subway turnstiles. They liked a New York with 4,500 shootings a year.

But most New Yorkers are delighted with the change Giuliani has wrought. The mistaken shooting of an innocent man is a tragedy. But to undo the great work of the NYPD in the name of Diallo would be a crime.


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©1999, Creators Syndicate