Kathleen Horan, Reporter, WNYC News
Kathleen Horan is a staff reporter for New York Public Radio, covering the neighborhood beat. She also reports 'Reset', an ongoing series documenting police-community relations in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.
The city has released annual data on every stop-and-frisk in 2012. It details the 22 percent decline in stops, overall.
East New York, Brooklyn still holds the top spot in the city when it comes to stops, despite sharp declines. More than 24,000 people were stopped there including 14-year-old Lamel Ricen.
"They ask me do I have any guns we said no. They stopped us, they checked us, they put their hands in my pockets, they feel all over me and stuff," recalled the teen, who said he was stopped while hanging out with friends several times last year. His neighborhood precinct, the 75th, has seen a drop in homicides but an increase in other major crimes in 2012.
The West Village had the largest percent increase in stops, up by 23 percent. There was only one murder in the 6th precinct in both 2011 and 2012, but there was an uptick in robbery and assaults. Some also suggest that complaints about youths hanging out in the neighborhood may have driven up police activity. The 46th precinct in the Bronx had the largest decline — nearly 60 percent.
Chris Dunn, associate Legal Director with the New York Civil Liberties Union, said he doesn't think New Yorkers are likely to feel the overall drop in stops. "Most people walking around in precincts where there's a lot of stop activity — the decrease from last year is not something they're likely to notice," observed Dunn.
The majority of those who were stopped by police were black (55 percent) and Latino (32 percent).
The NYPD's use of the tactic is currently being challenged in court; a federal class action lawsuit centers on whether the city has been engaged in racial profiling. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has refuted that, saying the NYPD is focused on where crime is the highest and that 90 percent of murder victims are also people of color.