NYPD Stop Frisk Policy and its Statistical Racial Impacts
The NYPD (NY Police Department) stop and frisk policy is a policy introduced by the New York City mandating the police officers to stop pedestrians and frisks them for contraband, and weapons. The rules are cited in the Section 140.50 in the New York criminal procedure law. In 2011, the NY police force used the frisk policy rule to stop approximately 685,724 people, however, the number reduced to 22,939 in 2015. The policy has become a controversial issue because over 5 million people were frisked during the first decade after introducing the policy. In 2002, the numbers of the reported cases were 685,724 in 2011 before slashing down to 533,042 in 2012. The goal of stop and frisk policy is to reduce the incidence of violent crimes and keep guns off the street to improve the quality of life of New Yorkers. By adopting the frisk policy, the New York City administrators have been able to reduce the crime rate substantially over the last 20 years. Despite the benefits of the stop and frisk policy, large percentages of people stopped and frisked are African-Americans and Latinos. Moreover, only 5.9% of people frisked in 2011 led to an arrest and 2% led to a weapon recovery.
The objective of this paper is to evaluate the impact of NYPD stop-frisk policy and examine the statistical racial impact of the policy.
Impact NYPD Stop-Frisk Policy
Stop and Frisk is a New York police practice of searching or frisking people. Under the law, a police officer has no right to stop an individual for a search without having a substantial proof or reasonable suspicion that the person is engaging or about to engage in a criminal activity. However, frisking is legally permitted in New York where police officers have the right to search an individual if they believe that the person is dangerous or armed. New York state law allows police officers to use a standardized form to record the reason for the arrest. Within 10 years of adopting the policy, the stop and frisk policy has grown at an astonishing rate and reached its peak in 2010.
Stops and frisks policy have a profound impact on individuals that include abusive behaviors by police, inappropriate touching, forcibly stripped of people under clothes in public, sexual harassment, extortion of sex, and other degrading and humiliating treatments. While 9 out 10 people stopped and frisks never result in an arrest, however, all people frisked are obliged to cope with psychological, emotional and social trauma resulted from the frisk policy.
Sexual harassment and inappropriate touching are the major impacts of stop and frisk policy. Typically, some police officers go to the extent of frisk the private parts, underwear and people’s rectal to verify if they do not hide the drug there. This type of frisk can be highly embarrassing for people especially when a male police officer stops and frisks the private parts of a female suspect. (Wendy, 2012). A number of people at Manhattan in New York affirmed that when police officers stopped them for a frisk, they were sexually harassed, inappropriately touched, and sexually assaulted. Some people also confirmed that some police officers touched their genitals during the frisks, sometimes asked them to remove their clothes in public. A deplorable thing is that if people speak against inappropriate touching, they can be charged with resisting arrest. The issue makes many people feel violated and disrespected. humiliated, shameful and harassed. (Wendy, 2012).
The police brutality has been identified as another impact of stops and frisks leading to an ever present of police violence. In the New York city, the policy leads to the excessive force of police sometimes making police officers to slap people if they resist being frisked, threw them on the ground, hurt them and sometimes beat them up. Thus, the policy allows police officers to use their force indiscriminately making people be terrified of the police. An experience of being stopped and frisked in this way often lead to emotional impact.
A stop and frisk policy also make people feel unsafe, afraid of leaving their home, and fearful of police. People who are being frisked numerous times are living in the atmosphere of fear when seeing a police officer passing by consequently lead to a psychological impact. (Loren, 2014). Despite the negative effective of stops and frisks policy, the policy also has some positive impacts. For example, the crime rate has reduced in the last 10 years due to the application of the policy. Between 2000 and 2015, the murder rates in the New York City declined from 952 to 609. As being revealed in Table 1, the violent rates reduced from 124,890 to 75,165 between 2000 and 2015. Moreover, the rate of robbery reduced from 40,539 to 23,936. Despite the positive impact of the stops and frisks policy, police still use the policy to target certain category of the population in New York city.
Table 1: Historical Records of Crime Rates in New York City
Statistical Racial Impacts of the Policy
An analysis of the administration of the stops and frisks policy show that when police officers make stops, they are required by law to fill out a form and provide a detailed reason for the stops and later enter the information in the database. Based on the overall data collected from the policy, it is revealed that the police targets certain category of the population. For example, police officers use the policy to target African-Americans, Latino and people of colors.(Kalhan, 2014). The NY police officers also focuses on the Latino and African-American’s neighborhoods to make stops and frisks than White people neighborhoods despite that African-Americans and Latino are in the minorities. Thus, most stops occur in Latinos and African-American neighborhoods revealing that these category of the ethnic groups are more likely to be stopped and frisk than White people.
In 2011, the total stops were 636,288 where African-Americans were 350,743, Latino, 223,740, and White were 61,805. The data show that Africa Americans are 55.1% of the category of people frisked while Latino were 35.1% and White were 9.7%. A data presented by NYCLU (2016) reveals that African-Americans constitute 54% of people stop and frisk since 2002. (See Table 2). While Latino constitute 30% and White is 16%. Thus, the policy has made the large majority of African-Americans and Latinos feel unsafe in the New York city. Although, NYPD defend this data that high percentages of African-Americans and Latinos engage in the drug activities than white counterparts. Despite the high rate of the number of people being stopped and frisked, 90% of people stopped and frisked are completely innocent. Thus, the stop and frisk policy allow the New York policer to treat African-Americans and Latinos more harshly than White counterpart. (Gelman, Fagan, & Kiss, (2007).
Source: NYCLU (2016).
The stop and frisk policy allows the NY police officers to stop people in the public and search them. Over the years, the policy has led to a humiliation of people because some police officers abuse the policy. Moreover African-Americans and Latinos are the targets making many people feel unsafe when in public.
Gelman, A. Fagan, J. & Kiss, A. (2007). An Analysis of the New York City Police Department’s “Stop-and-Frisk” Policy in the Context of Claims of Racial Bias. Journal of the American Statistical Association. 102(479): 813-823.
Kalhan, A. (2014). Stop and Frisk, Judicial Independence, and the Ironies of Improper Appearances. Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics. 27 (4).
Loren, G. S. (2014). Stop and Frisk: An Historical Answer to a Modern Problem. The Journal of Criminal Law, Criminology, and Police Science. 58,(4) (1967): p. 532. JSTOR.
NYCLU (2016). Stop-and-Frisk Data. New York Civil Liberties Union. USA.
Wendy, R. (2012). For Women in Street Stops, Deeper Humiliation. New York Times.
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