EdenPictures/Flickr

With legal challenges mounting, the NYPD conducted 70,000 fewer stops last quarter.

The New York Police Department announced today that the number of "stop-and-frisks," the city's controversial program of searching people who look suspicious, had dropped 34 percent from the previous quarter. According to the New York Post, 133,934 people were stopped and searched by the NYPD between April 1 and June 30, down from 203,500 in the first three months of the year.

The city has endorsed the stops for years, pointing to the number of illegal guns seized by cops - in 2011, 770 guns in 685,000 stops - and the city's low and declining level of violent crime. But opponents say the practice is unconstitutional and inefficient, and amounts to a systematic humiliation of the city's black and Latino residents.

Between 2004 and 2009, 5.37 percent of stops resulted in arrests. Last year, 1.9 percent of searches yielded a weapon. The American Civil Liberties Union reported [PDF] that last year, black and Hispanic men between the ages of 14 and 24 accounted for 41.6 percent of stops, though they make up only 4.7 percent of the city's population. Additionally, according to the same report, "the number of stops of young black men exceeded the entire city population of young black men (168,126 as compared to 158,406)."

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the change comes mostly from a change in the distribution of rookie cops, rather than from a policy change, but the New York Times reported that the drop may also reflect the hesitancy of officers to engage in a controversial tactic, and the timing is curious. In June, Mayor Bloomberg announced for the first time that he would scale back the stop-and-frisk efforts, and the policy has lately been under siege in the judicial system, in the media, and in the court of public opinion.

The NYPD's influence is widespread, so an official change in policy (or in results) could reverberate in other American cities - like San Francisco, which is considering a similar policy, or Philadelphia, which has recently cut back its stop-and-frisk program. Below, a map courtesy of WYNC shows which neighborhoods see the most stop-and-frisks, and where guns are found.

Map courtesy of WNYC.

Top image: Flickr user Eden Pictures.

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. Equity

    Berlin Will Freeze Rents for Five Years

    Local lawmakers agreed to one of Europe’s most radical rental laws, but it sets the stage for a battle with Germany’s national government.

  2. A photo of a new apartment building under construction in Boston.
    Equity

    In Massachusetts, a ‘Paper Wall’ of Zoning Is Blocking New Housing

    Despite the area’s progressive politics, NIMBY-minded residents in and around Boston are skilled in keeping multi-family housing at bay.

  3. Environment

    Paris Wants to Grow ‘Urban Forests’ at Famous Landmarks

    The city plans to fill some small but treasured sites with trees—a climate strategy that may also change the way Paris frames its architectural heritage.

  4. A person tapes an eviction notice to the door of an apartment.
    Equity

    Why Landlords File for Eviction (Hint: It’s Usually Not to Evict)

    Most of the time, a new study finds, landlords file for eviction because it tilts the power dynamic in their favor—not because they want to eject their tenants.

  5. photo of Arizona governor Doug Ducey
    Perspective

    Why FOMO Is the Enemy of Good Urban Mobility Policy

    Fear of Missing Out does not make good transportation policy. Sometimes a new bus shelter is a better investment than flashy new technology.

×