New York City police commissioner Ray Kelly continued to defend his department’s “stop-and-frisk” program in an interview with a teen radio show, urging people to accept the practice as “a fact of urban life.”
“The best thing for a person to do when being stopped is cooperate,” Kelly said. “Accept it as a fact of urban life. It overall is helping to keep New York City safe.”
Kelly also cited stop-and-frisk as a factor in the city’s crime rate dropping by 80 percent over the past 20 years. However, past reports have shown that it did prevent a rise in the number of shootings in town between 2009 and 2011.
The policy has also been roundly criticized for focusing nearly entirely on black and Latino males, which have led to community protests, inquiries from the Department of Justice, and a feeling of resentment from residents in frequently targeted neighborhoods like the 44th precinct.
“I fit the description of every crime that happens in New York City,” one disgruntled resident told Radio Rookies. Meanwhile, Kelly said people should focus on the bigger picture.
“We’d love to have a great relationship with people,” Kelly said. “But sometimes because of the decisions that we make, and things we have to do, people are not going to be happy with the police.”