2013-07-10 / Editorials

Create Statewide Gun Offender Registry

BY JOHN J. CIAFONE ESQ.

The recent attacks on Stop, Question and Frisk, a constitutional tool employed by the New York City Police Department are outrageous to say the least. This program, which was instituted by New York City Under Police Commissioner William J. Bratton and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, has helped bring down major crime rates in the City of New York to an all time low [comparable to] the levels seen in the 1950s. The recent federal lawsuit by proponents against Stop and Frisk; the request of a federal monitor by the United States Attorney General Eric Holder to examine all Stop and Frisk’s performed by the police; and the recent bills passed by the City Council will almost certainly lead to an increase in the crime in the city.

If you study cities like Chicago, New Orleans and Michigan that do not employ Stop, Question and Frisk, [you will see that] crime rates are rising alarmingly. There are an incredible amount of murders and shootings in these cities. Interestingly, Philadelphia, which has an African American mayor and an African American police commissioner, who both supported and employed Stop and Frisk, and were forced to accept a federal monitor, have now seen their crime rates increase dramatically.

Crime is highest in areas where minorities tend to live. According to criminologists, African Americans and Latinos are the largest crime victims. It is in these very same neighborhoods that Stop, Question and Frisk is used to stop gang culture and eliminate guns and drugs off the streets. Most crimes are committed in these communities by minorities against minorities. You won’t see these same crimes committed on Park Avenue, Fifth Avenue, or Madison Avenue.

A police officer must have the ability to stop a crime from occurring when he or she, upon a reasonable suspicion, suspects that a person is about to commit a crime or has committed a crime. Those screaming loudly against Stop, Question and Frisk in these minority communities do not represent the true everyday people in their community who yearn for safety for themselves and for their families.

Stop, Question and Frisk is a useful tool to eliminate drug sales, guns and gangs off the streets. If criminals are targeted, crime will be reduced as is evidenced in the reduction of crime citywide despite the lower number of police officers. To its credit, video cameras and DNA evidence have been crucial in lowering crime, but Stop, Question and Frisk is also a tool that must continue to be employed for us to live in a relatively safe city.

There is no question that Stop, Question and Frisk can be abused by a bad officer. However, there are plenty of checks and balances to determine this abuse. A card has to be filled out by each officer who stops and frisks a person and a supervisor reviews the same.

The politicians who touted and celebrated the gun reform legislation in New York state are themselves hypocritical in failing to advocate for Stop, Question and Frisk, a major weapon in eliminating illegal guns off the streets.

We need to remind ourselves of the numerous times law enforcement has thwarted terrorist acts by use of Stop, Question and Frisk. This enforcement tool is crucial not only for crime in the city but to stop terrorism and protect the innocent lives of so many people.

I am the only candidate running for city council who has continuously supported Stop, Question and Frisk. I was interviewed by Norman Seabrook, the President of the Correction Officer Benevolent Association on 1600 AM WWRL on this issue facing our city. In fact, the candidate that the Queens County Democratic Organization has endorsed in my race is against Stop, Question and Frisk and wants it eliminated.

We as citizens have no problem being stopped and frisked when we go to certain events, clubs, ball parks, concerts, courts, and government buildings.

Our seniors, children, families, and neighbors who work hard every day and pay their fair share of taxes, fees, and cost of living in this city deserve at a minimum to be protected from crime. It is the least expectation to request that our government protect us against crime?

Please make sure you vote out those who are essentially guaranteeing higher crime rates in the city by trying to eliminate Stop, Question and Frisk. Shame on the politicians who support the elimination of Stop, Question and Frisk and the appointment of a federal monitor. By shackling the hands of our law enforcement, this city will be destroyed and we will become a dangerous city like Chicago, New Orleans, or Michigan. Our elected officials who are eliminating stop and frisk should not feed us nonsense about gun control when they surreptitiously protect the gun hooligans and those perpetrating crimes.

John J. Ciafone is a candidate for NYC Council District 22.

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