The Q at Parkside

(for those for whom the Parkside Q is their hometrain)

News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Friskin' the Night Away

Until a couple years ago, the Q thought Stop and Frisk was what my cats did when they were feeling peckish. It's quite the hot topic in town (as if we needed more heat), and now we have some pretty intense data to back up the assertion that the NYPD uses S&F a bit over-zealously. WNYC posted this cool (though kinda low-tech if you ask me) map that shows where the most stops happen. I don't think I need to tell you that the overwhelming majority of stops happen to men of color. Hey, they even nabbed a black City Councilman, Jumaane Williams last summer during Labor Day's West Indian festivities. Here's a much more informative look at the issue than the Q, as a hobbyist with an eye-patch from elective lens implantation surgery, could ever manage: S&F Story in Times.

One thing that jumps out at me about the map. The 70th Precinct is hammering the NE quadrant of their area pretty hard. Which makes sense, in a way, because if you've wandered south of Woodruff lately you'll see tons and tons of cops, part of the Impact Zone that unleashed dozens of rookies onto the streets for special first-year training. I learned this by asking some pairs of cops, and it follows that if they're going to stand out there they're probably going to try and do some "work." Hey, it takes time and practice to become a good stopandfrisker.

But while I appreciate the large numbers of cops in a fairly hectic neighborhood, I'm hesitant to endorse a policy that makes hundreds and thousands of stops of law-abiders part of its acknowledged collateral damage. And just because there are some uniforms on the street, this is most definitely not the kind of "beat cops" many of us in the community have been asking for. Beat cops get to know their constituents over time, developing relationships, and determining (hopefully) who's really naughty and nice. No offense to the young policemen in the 70th impact experiment, but I can't imagine they have the kind of experience to strike the right balance between aggressive and over-aggressive. That's my two cents. Happy to hear yours. I suspect that the "right" answer is somewhere between the extremes of too much and too little active policing. Where's Officer Goldilocks when you need her?

1 comment:

Yehuda said...

This seems like a tricky subject. The blocks immediately adjacent to me is where several of these "Impact" cops are stationed nightly. Their presence is definitely a mixed blessing for the locals. On one hand there is no question they are actively deterring crime. On the other, their understanding of the community may be limited. I'm personally not sure what to make of it.