The New York Daily News has a headline that is going to be talked about today:

EXCLUSIVE: Huge Fall in Stop-and-Frisk Raises fear that Cops are Reluctant to Confront Criminals

The Daily News story reports that those who favor stop-and-frisk say that criminals are now more likely to carry guns because of the drop in use of stop-and-frisk encounters by the police.

Federal Judge Shira Scheindlin of Manhattan federal court two years ago ruled that stop-and-frisk as it was then carried out was racial profiling and made it much tougher for cops to use the practice. New York Post columnist Bob McManus has argued that New York’s pulling back from aggressive policing, including curbing stop and frisk, has made it easier for criminals to flourish.

Police in big cities such as New York and Baltimore, where elected officials have engaged in anti-cop rhetoric, know that, if they make the wrong stop, the city officials are unlikely to support their decision, ever how well-intentioned it was.

The Daily News story has evidence that the slow down in stop-and-frisk encounters may have been a boon for the lawless. Stop-and-frisk encounters are likely to have fallen by 42 percent by the end of this year.  Meanwhile, the number of murders in New York has risen by 19.5% for the first five months of 2015, while 9.2% more people were victims of gunshot wounds.

“What you’re seeing now are the perps carrying their guns because they’re not afraid to carry them,” said Ed Mullins, head of the Sergeants Benevolent Association. “We’ve created an atmosphere where we’ve handcuffed the police. We are sitting back, taking a less proactive approach.”

Mullins said the city’s criminal element has been operating without fear while cops have been somewhat neutered in the last two years — and he wasn’t the only one to raise the issue.

“Based sed on this year’s drop . . . absent any other factor, you have to ask the question: Are the cops now reluctant to engage?” wondered one high-ranking police source.

The irony is that the stop-and-frisk policies, as practiced pre-Judge Scheindlin,made life safer in neighborhoods where poorer citizens live, the very people in whose behalf the public officials claim to speak when they lambast the police.

I'm the first to want instances of police brutality punished, but I also, as a general principle, favor dissing the criminal element over the cops. We're seeing what happens when elected officials decide on the opposite course.