Top Philly Cop Talks 'Stop-and-Frisk' Policy with NY Times
Commissioner Ramsey—'The question is: Are you stopping the right people for the right reason?'
Juxtaposing the Big Apple to Philadelphia, The New York Times profiled Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey and his department's use of stop-and-frisk tactics to curtail violent crime and possession of illegal weapons.
In a July 11 article, the Times analyzed how Philadelphia added safeguards to officer stops of pedestrians to combat complaints that police were violating civil rights.
Since Mayor Michael Nutter took office, homicide statistics have ridden a wave—dropping after the bloody 2007, but increasing in 2010 for the first time in several years. So far in 2012, police report 189 homicides, the highest total at this point since 2007.
The policy, police argue, is an effective way to remove illegal guns from the streets. Last summer, as reported by The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Police established more safeguards, internal tracking and education technique in an effort to decrease distrust of police.
Homicides—and the stop-and-frisk policies intended to curtail incidents—are not as prevalent in Northwest Philadelphia, but the balancing act of police effectively doing its job and respecting citizens remains.
The article includes interviews with Philadelphians in neighborhoods most victimized by overzealous stops, and also features support from civil rights groups that say the city adjusted effectively to complaints.
Ramsey maintains his support for the policy.
“The sense that I get from some is that they want to get rid of this tool completely,” he said, “and that would be a huge mistake.”
One local blog, #GunCrisis: Philadelphia, serves as centralized spot to monitor violent crime stories and is working to create a dialogue on the "epidemic of homicide by gunfire." Read more from the organization here.