Is the NYPD Really Stop-and-Frisking Less?
Amid growing criticism of the racial profiling tactic stop-and-frisk, New York media outlets are reporting a recent drop in the New York Police Department’s number of stop-and-frisks. According to New York One, unnamed “sources” say the number of stop-and-frisks dropped by 200,000 to 134,000 -- a 34 percent decrease -- between April 1 and June 30.
Still, it is unclear whether the new data is legitimate. City officials and the New York Post have recently exploited an increase in shootings as evidence that the not-yet-reported drop in stop-and-frisk increases violence. Amid increasing criticism of the tactic, including a silent march of 50,000 people, it is possible that the data is yet another strategic number manipulation.
Recordings of NYPD roll calls and statements from NYPD whistleblowers have routinely accused the police department of data fudging. Whistle blowers like Adrian Schoolcraft say the NYPD regularly underreports felonies and makes bad arrests for low-level crimes (as well asunwarranted stops) to maintain the image that aggressive street policing is reducing serious crimes. Now, city officials are using that same rhetoric to pin a rise in shootings on a drop in stop-and-frisk. Still, the data repeatedly show that stop-and-frisk does not significantly reduce crime. As use of the tactic rose by 600% under Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s three terms, gun recovery and shootings remained relatively stable. Despite hard evidence to the contrary, Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg continually swear by the tactic’s ability to fight to crime.
While the NYPD was stopping and frisking a record 685,724 people last year, 1,821 people were victims of gunfire, according to NYPD and city statistics. That's virtually the same number as in 2002, Bloomberg's first year in office, when 1,892 people were shot, but just 97,296 people were frisked.
What’s more, the NYPD is not finding guns where they are stop-and-frisking the most. FromWNYC:
Numbers are the best resource stop-and-frisk critics have to expose the tactic’s inefficiency, and by manipulating them, Kelly and Bloomberg may hope to silent critics and shift public opinion.