Ailsa Chang is an award-winning journalist who covers criminal justice, terrorism and the courts for WNYC. She found her way into public radio after practicing law for five years, and can definitely say that walking the streets of New York City with a microphone is a lot more fun than being holed up in the office writing letters to opposing counsel.
Stop-and-Frisks by NYPD Reach Highest 6-Month Total
Wednesday, August 31, 2011 - 05:35 PM
The NYPD is on track to have a record number of stop-and-frisks by the end of 2011.
New data released by the police department shows they have conducted 362,150 stops between January and June of this year, a 13.5 percent increase from the number of stop-and-frisks during the same period last year.
If stops continue increasing at this rate, the police will well-exceed the 600,000 stops they made by the end of last year.
Stop-and-frisks are street encounters between officers and civilians that are legal only if an officer has reasonable suspicion the person being stopped has committed a crime or is about to commit a crime.
In the first six months, 84 percent of the people stopped were either black or Latino. Nine out of 10 stops did not result in any arrest or ticket.
The police say stop-and-frisks have helped save lives in New York City by disrupting criminal activity, reinforcing police presence in high-crime neighborhoods and deterring would-be criminals.
But critics say no academic study has definitively proven stop-and-frisks reduce crime in New York City. The city has been fighting a class action since 2008 that alleges hundreds of thousands of stops are done without any suspicion and racially profile the people who end up getting stopped.