New York City police officers stopped and questioned more than 200,000 people in the just the first three months of 2012, setting up a record pace for much criticized tactic. The "Stop, Question, Frisk" policy has been a major initiative for the NYPD, which credits the tactic as a key contributor to a years-long drop in street crimes. However, numerous studies have shown that the stops overwhelmingly target black and Latino males. A recent study by the ALCU released last week showed that were 168,000 stops of young black men last year, which exceeds the actual population of young black men living in the city.
Police have been given the authority "stop and frisk" anyone on "reasonable suspicion" of being involved in a crime — a much lower standard than probable cause — yet more that 90 percent of those stopped are never charged with anything. Despite such criticisms, the department continue tout the policy as an important factor in keeping the peace. On they same day they released the street stop numbers, they NYPD also announced that there have been just 129 murders through the first 132 days of the year, putting the city on pace for fewest number of homicides since reliable statistics have been tracked. The 471 homicides in 2009 is the lowest total on record.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.