I was in New York City this week and had plenty of time to discuss the stop and frisk court decision. I heard an interesting take on the ruling while there. The first is this: the original crime rate was very high based upon black v. black crime in New York City. The stupendous gentrification and building boom in New York has had the interesting consequence of changing the demographic of New York City, although the expanse of what seems to be the largest outflow of minority people from a city since the Great Migration might not be known for another eight years. (On this trip, I stayed in a high rise hotel in Brooklyn, and a whole series of 50 plus story towers are going up on what had been a majority minority neighborhood not long ago. The number of cranes is amazing.) In any event, it is possible to argue that the drop in the crime rate had nothing to do with “stop and frisk” and it may everything to do with the fact that the crime rate has dropped because the changing demographic is reducing black v. black violence. Thus, the mayor may be entirely wrong in thinking that the court decision will cause an increase in crime. We’ll have to wait and see. The other theory of falling crime has everything to do with “stabilization theory.” The War on Drugs has been such a failure, that the supply and distribution channel has stabilized. This means less risk in drug dealing. Less risk means lower profits. Lower profits means less interest in crime for the sake of those profits. Thus, the fall in crime has to do with the failure of the drug war, not its overzealous enforcement. thus, Holder’s idea of shortening prison sentences is meaningless. The thing to do is to totally end the war on crime. One other thing I can report is that no one in New York, other than the Mayor, seems to be exercised by the Court ruling.
The other interesting thing is that I spent time with folks from San Francisco and Washington, and they seem to be in concurrence that both San Francisco and Washington seem to be following the same pattern as New York City in becoming whiter, wealthier and more conservative than they have been in recent years, and one Washingtonian noted that the Republicans wouldn’t have been meeting in Boston if they didn’t think that all urban areas are back in play for the Republicans. With Obama’s popularity flirting with the upper 30s, 2014 might be a very good year for the Republicans.
Lastly, having had a chance to see One World Trade Center, I can report that it looks even worse in person than it does in pictures. Most folk I talked to agree that the if Al Qaeada takes it out before occupancy no one might care.