The NYPD’s use of the controversial tactic of stop-and-frisk dropped 34 percent between the first and second quarters of this year, according to police data.
Between April 1 and June 30, the police conducted 133,934 stops. That’s compared to 203,500 stops in the first three months of the year.
Police Commission Ray Kelly attributed the decline to training and impact deployment. Under the program, "Operation Impact," the NYPD deploys recent graduates of the police academy to high crime precincts, or "impact zones." The department says a large proportion of stop-and-frisks are conducted by those rookie cops. In recent months, the department has reduced deployment of those new officers to impact zones and stop-and-frisks have fallen.
But Letitia James, a critic of stop-and-frisk, isn't buying the department's rationale. "I reject their reason for the reduction in stop and frisks. The reduction in stop and frisks is directly related to the criticism of the practice, of the abuse of the practice."
Officers tell WNYC that the 2nd quarter drop was expected, due to a reluctance by cops to conduct stops under growing controversy about the tactic.
The New York Civil Liberties Union said it was encouraged by the data. “This reduction is a good start, but much more needs to be done to rebuild community trust and protect New Yorkers from illegal and racially biased street stops,” NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman said in a statement.
She noted that the data the police did not release was the number of innocent people who were stopped. "If past is prologue, we can expect that police officers from the NYPD subjected at least 1,000 innocent New Yorkers a day to humiliating and unjustified street stops. And quite frankly, that's nothing to brag about," Liberman said.
In May, Kelly responded to the criticism surrounding stop-and-frisk announced several changes, including increasing training and providing more reviews to ensure stops are proper.
Councilwoman James, however, believes better tactics, like community outreach and education, should be used to deter crime.
Based on the data available, the total stop-and-frisks for the first half of the year was 337,434. This is a drop from the same time last year, which recorded 362,150 stops.
Last year, more than 630,000 people were stopped, mostly black and Hispanic men. About half are frisked, and only about 10 percent are arrested.
Ailsa Chang and Annmarie Fertoli contributed reporting.