In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled in a class action suit against the city of New York that the stop-and-frisk policy violates that fourth and 14th Amendments. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg and other proponents of this style of policing unsuccessfully fought her decision. Bloomberg believed that the crime rate would increase exponentially, but recently released data indicates exactly the opposite.
Nick Wing of The Huffington Post reported that crime rates have reached levels that the city hasn’t seen since the 1950s. Wing said that according to the NYPD’s preliminary reports, there were a total of 290 killings in New York in 2017 compared to 335 in 2016 and a staggering 2,295 in 1990. The number of other serious crimes, including assault, rape, car theft, and grand larceny, have steadily declined as well.
Proponents of stop-and-frisk argued that it was necessary to concentrate this type of policing in high-crime areas, which just so happened to be in poor, minority neighborhoods. But Scheindlin said in her 195-page decision that the policy was one of “indirect racial profiling,” which was both “demeaning and humiliating” for communities where minorities resided.
An article in the Washington Post defined stop-and-frisk as an NYPD policy which permits officers to detain, question, and search pedestrians if there is “reasonable suspicion” that the person has committed a crime, is in the process of committing a crime, or will soon commit one. The piece goes on to provide statistics showing the disproportionate application of the policy.
According to the Public Advocate’s office report, there were 532,911 stops made in New York in 2012. (The previous year came in at 685,724.) Of those stops in 2012, 53 percent of those persons were black, while 31 percent were Hispanic. New York City’s population, however, was only 25 percent black and 29 percent Hispanic.
New York City’s current mayor, Bill de Blasio, campaigned to reduce the crime rate as he greatly opposed stop-and-frisk. According to Politico, Mayor de Blasio claimed that his administration kept its promise and solved the problem. The report that the outlet had already published indicated that the number of stops that occurred between early 2012 and late 2013 dropped by 94 percent. The mayor, however, did not take office until 2014, but the crime rate has steadily declined during his tenure.