NYPD Stops and Frisks Record Number in 2011; almost exclusively innocent Blacks or Latinos

Stop Stop and Frisk

Stop Stop and Frisk

report released Tuesday by the Wall Street Journal found that the NYPD stopped, questioned, and frisked 684,330 New Yorkers, an all-time high, and 14% increase from 2010 which was the prior record. While the tactic of stop and frisk goes back to the start of policing itself, the tactic came to fame starting in the 1990s, when the NYPD started aggressively clamping down on minor crime. Since Mayor Bloomberg took office in 2002, the number of those stopped and frisked by the NYPD has increased 600 percent.

Last year, those targeted for stops and frisks were almost exclusively Black and Latino (87%), a figure that matches prior years. This indicates that while the NYPD does have anti-racial profiling policies in place, there remain widespread racial disparities in policing practice. Of those stopped by police, roughly 90% were not charged with a crime.

In response to the report, NYPD spokesman Paul Browne stated, “Stop [and frisk] saves lives,” and asserted that policing practices like stop and frisk prevented an estimated 5,628 homicides in the last ten years. But crime rates were falling long before the practice was put in place, and though crime rates continue to fall, it cannot be determined whether over-policing is the cause.  In fact, other cities that have not pursued stop and frisk have seen similar falling rates in crime.

Rather, targeting predominantly young people of color creates a widespread sense of mistrust and defensiveness of the NYPD in the communities in which they serve.

Milk Not Jails is working with community organizations throughout the state like Stop Stop and Frisk and the Drug Policy Alliance to end racist police policies that unfairly target innocent people.


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