The New York Times had an important piece earlier this week exploring the uses and abuses of the New York City Police Department’s "stop and frisk" efforts, which have dramatically increased over the last few years. The NYPD argues that this is a critical crime prevention and fighting technique, while others argue that it is excessively deployed, with little oversight and limited effect on crime, while fraying community relations. The Times offers a good survey of anecdotes and experts but the core is an analysis of who gets stopped where and what the outcomes are.
For me, there were two sets of statistics that jumped out. On the one hand, the percentage of stops was roughly the same as the percentage of crime (for example, the 10 highest crime precincts had 22% of the crime and 24% of the stops. For the 5 lowest crime precincts, it was 2% and 4%). On the other hand, only 5% of the stops in the high crime areas led to arrests (7% in the low crime precincts).
The story is particularly timely as the Governor decides whether to sign or veto legislation sponsored by Sen. Eric Adams which would require the NYPD to expunge the names of those stopped but not arrested from its database.