A new poll of more than 1,000 people conducted by the New York Times found that 64 percent of locals believe the NYPD favors whites over blacks, a number that depends on race, but not entirely. Black New Yorkers especially feel like the NYPD plays favorites, with 80 percent saying the department has a bias; however, 48 percent of white respondents, a plurality, concurred. Yet those at the top aren’t taking the blame.
The question comes amid a constant flow of criticism against the police’s stop-and-frisk tactics, but the answers from everyday people — displayed helpfully in this info-graphic — reveal a host of complications when it comes to attitudes about battling crime: 48 percent said the stops are “acceptable” and 45 percent called them “excessive.” Mayor Bloomberg is fighting crime appropriately according to 57 percent of New Yorkers asked, while the untouchable Ray Kelly scored a 61 percent approval rating.
It’s not that people don’t acknowledge the various abuses and arguments against the way the department wields its power — more than 75 percent of those surveyed said they’ve heard a bunch about stop-and-frisk — but easy fixes are hard to come by and people really value their safety: “Even 50 percent of the respondents who said they had been the target of a racially motivated police stop approved of Mr. Kelly’s management.”