by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In March 2019, Mike Bloomberg said he would not run for president because he was not willing to engage in an “apology tour.” By contrast, scoffed the former New York mayor, Joe Biden had “apologized for the one piece of legislation which is actually a pretty good anti-crime bill,” as well as for being “white, male, and over 50,” in Bloomberg’s words.
Perhaps Bloomberg owes the former vice president an apology. Bloomberg kicked off his own presidential campaign last November with an equally gratuitous mea culpa, repudiating his support as mayor for the police tactic of stop, question and frisk. “I got something important really wrong,” he said at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn. “I didn’t understand that back then, the full impact that stops were having on the black and Latino communities.”
Bloomberg had it right the first time around. Proactive police stops are among the most effective crime-fighting tools that cops on the beat have. The New York Police Department’s use of the tactic helped bring the city’s homicide rate down another 50 percent during Bloomberg’s tenure in office from 2002 to 2013, something few criminologists believed possible. Sixteen hundred minority lives were saved in the process.