Stop and Frisk Statistics in NYC

An article in the Feb. 14th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Stop-and-Frisks Hit Record in 2011 (full text available in print at the Brooklyn Law School reference desk and online in Lexis and the BLS online subscription to the WSJ), reports that the use of the stop and frisk tactic in New York City effected 684,330 people in 2011, a 14% increase over 2010. Of the total, about 12% were arrested or received summonses; males made up 92% of the stops, 87% of the total were either black or Hispanic and whites were 9%. An analysis by the New York Civil Liberties Union estimates that the use of stop and frisk has increased 603% since the first year of the Bloomberg administration, when there were only 97,296 stops. It says that under the Bloomberg administration, the NYPD has conducted more than 4.3 million street stops with about 88% of those stops – nearly 3.8 million – resulting in no arrest or summons.

In defense of the practice, a spokesperson from the NYPD said that 8,263 weapons, including 819 guns, were recovered as a result of stops and that tactic has reduced crime. NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman counters that “crime rates were going down before the skyrocketing stop-and-frisk campaign.” Critics say that stop and frisk targets minority men in NYC where blacks make up 25% of the city’s population, Hispanics 29% and whites 33%, according to the 2010 census. In response, the NYPD spokesperson said that the stop numbers “comport by race with victim-crime reports.” In 2011, 66% of violent-crime suspects were black, 34% were Hispanics and 9% white. The NYC website maintains a Stop, Question and Frisk Report Database for the years 2003 through 2010.

Students at Brooklyn Law School can review the law related to stop and frisk on the CALI website where there are two relevant lessons: Stop and Frisk (CRMPRO12) and Stop and Frisk Exception (CRMPRO06). SARA, the BLS Library catalog, lists an internet resource Analysis of Racial Disparities in the New York Police Department’s Stop, Question, and Frisk Practices by Greg Ridgeway published by RAND Safety and Justice and sponsored by the New York City Police Foundation.