Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Number Of Stop And Frisks Topped 600K Last Year
The number of stop and frisks of potential suspects conducted by the New York City Police Department topped the 600,000 mark for the first time last year.
That is according to department statistics made public Tuesday.
Civil rights advocates say the practice unfairly targets blacks and other minorities, and that many stops are made without proper cause.
Police say it is an essential crime-fighting tool. They also say the number is actually smaller compared to the 23 million contacts officers have with the public.
“The situations drive the use of that tactic. It depends on what conditions police officers find in the street,” said Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
The NYPD says that about 10 percent of the stops resulted in arrests and that last year those stops helped police officers take 8,000 weapons off the streets.
Some people in Harlem who spoke with NY1 said the number of stop and frisks is too high, while others were appreciative of the increased police presence.
“It’s bad that you get judged sometimes for who you are, even though for example say, if I wear a hood, I might be a suspect, even though I got a job and I’m working. So that plays a part sometimes. It’s not fair like that but that’s how it is,” said one New Yorker. “If a officer would come with a nicer approach it would be an easier process.”
“I know it’s kind of safe. They are packed like every block, so I can go jog at night and can go until midnight,” said another.
The previous high for stop and frisks was set in 2009 with more than 575,000. However, the department points out that statistics were not even kept until the 1990s — when the crime rate was much higher — meaning the number of stops might have been higher as well.