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. The facade of a casino in Atlantic City.
    Photos

    Photographing the Trumpian Urbanism of Atlantic City

    Brian Rose’s new book uses the deeply troubled New Jersey city as a window into how a developer-turned-president operates.

  2. a photo of a man surveying a home garage.
    Transportation

    How Single-Family Garages Can Ease California's Housing Crisis

    Given the affordable housing crisis, California cities should encourage single-family homeowners to convert garages into apartments and accessory dwelling units.

  3. People eat and drink coffee inside a small coffeehouse.
    Life

    Gentrification Is Hurting Kuala Lumpur's Iconic Coffee Shops

    Traditional kopitiams, which serve sweetened coffee in no-frills surroundings, are a part of Malaysian national identity, but their survival is precarious.

  4. a photo of Northern Virginia's Crystal City.
    Life

    When Your Neighborhood Gets a Corporate Rebrand

    From National Landing to SoHa, neighborhoods often find themselves renamed by forces outside the community, from big companies to real estate firms.

  5. Environment

    No, Puerto Rico’s New Climate-Change Law Is Not a ‘Green New Deal’

    Puerto Rico just adopted legislation that commits it to generating all its power from renewable sources. Here’s what separates that from what’s going on in D.C.