Crime and Stop-and-Frisk

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Anti-stop and frisk protesters outside Manhattan Court on April 30, 2012. Anti-stop and frisk protesters outside Manhattan Court on April 30, 2012. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)

Murray Weiss, DNAinfo columnist and criminal justice editor, looks at the statistics on crime and police stops since the federal judge ruled the NYPD's stop-and-frisk procedures unconstitutional.


Murray Weiss

Comments [27]

RUCB_Alum from Central New Jersey

@Joyce from NYC

re: the drop in major crime. (white collar and drug offenses are through the roof)

What's causing it? I'll go with:

1) Fewer unwanted births - Check out Freakonomics for an explanation AND
2) Less lead in the environment AND
3) Adequate social safety net, that is folks don't need to steal to survive.

Nov. 20 2013 11:22 AM

Showing how hard it is to apply for a NYC Gun License:
November 15, 2013
Stossel special “War on the Little Guy” Saturday on FOX News at 9PM ET
Will FBN’s John Stossel get his gun?

Nov. 20 2013 11:12 AM
Tony from Canarsie

CaptainDrG - We simply have differing views, and I do not worship at the altar of ammo.

Nov. 20 2013 10:58 AM
Richard Attanasio from Westchester NY

In all the discussion of stop and frisk, I've never heard anyone suggest that the police use metal detectors like they have in airport security lines, rather than their hands. They are not at all expensive. Couldn't this take away a lot of the unpleasantness of being frisked?

Many folks in the communities that are aggressively patrolled are glad for the extra protection the program has brought them, just as airline passengers don't rebel against being scanned.

And while I know it's naive to think this, perhaps the police who have stopped and scanned could thank the stopped person for "cooperating in keeping our city safer."

Nov. 20 2013 10:49 AM

Decreased NYC crime reporting:
In the analysis of Graham Rayman, writing for the Voice, this pressure to arrest had major effects in the 81st precinct, including:[9]

A ninefold increase in "stop-and-frisk" events.
"... several dozen gun arrests, hundreds of arrests on other charges, and thousands of summonses for things like disorderly conduct, trespassing, and loitering."
Arrests on trivial charges, such as a person not displaying identification several feet away from their own house. ("Mental health worker Rhonda Scott suffered two broken wrists during a 2008 arrest for not having her ID card while standing on her own stoop.")
Entire groups of people arrested without charges, simply for congregating on street corners. (These group arrests were often ordered directly by precinct commander Steven Mauriello and became known as "Mauriello specials".)
A functional 8:30 PM curfew: "After 8:30, it's all on me and my officers, and we're undermanned," Mauriello was recorded as saying. "The good people go inside. The others stay outside."
"Ghost 250s", fake stop-and-frisk reports with no names, fabricated to make quota at the end of the month.
A preference for easy arrests, rather than "bag of shit" cases who require supervision or medical treatment. One sergeant said: "Listen, don't bring Mr. Medicine into the stationhouse, because he's going to get free medical care from us that we all pay for, OK, and plus then he gets a nice police escort the whole time that he's there."

Rayman quotes retired NYPD detective Marquez Claxton: "The Police Department is using these numbers to portray themselves as being effective. In portraying that illusion, they have pushed these illegal quotas which force police officers to engage in illegal acts."[9] Rayman said the aggressive tactics were related to understaffing on the force. He wrote: a" typical day in the 81st Precinct had only three to nine officers patrolling the streets in an area of more than 60,000 people." Understaffing also led officers to work more overtime hours, earning more money but also becoming emotionally and physically exhausted.

Nov. 20 2013 10:47 AM

Decreased NYC crime reporting was shown when, On September 10, 2010 the nationally syndicated radio program This American Life ran a story on Schoolcraft, using his recorded material as well as interviews with him personally.
The story documented NYC Police suppression of reports of rape and other major crimes.

Nov. 20 2013 10:42 AM
Z from Manhattan from Manhattan

Brian, You mentioned Bratton and Compstat and the reduction of crime as if it's gospel but for years there has been debate about the way these stats are collected and how the pressures to collect them in a certain way has had serious impacts on policing practices. (see stop and frisk). Did you ever listen to the This American Life episode that discusses aspects of this?
If not, it's worth a listen.

Nov. 20 2013 10:36 AM

The decreased crime reporting aspect is likely part of decreased crime statistics.
When I tried to report a car break-in burglary, Police told me I would need to drive into NYC, park again in that space, and wait for police to come and take my report.
I never reported the crime.

Nov. 20 2013 10:36 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo, Joyce !!!

LOL, speaking "truth to power" as one of the lefty shibboleth prayers says.

Nov. 20 2013 10:35 AM

The Sullivan Act was passed into law in New York state in 1911 and remains Big Tim's primary legacy. It effectively banned most people from owning and, especially, carrying handguns. Under the onerous conditions of the corrupted law, a peaceable citizen of sound mind could apply for a pistol permit, but if any of a number of elected or appointed officials objected to its issuance, he or she could be denied the license. The law remains in effect to this day and has been used as the basis for gun laws in many other states and municipalities.
So perhaps Tony in Canarse can advise law abiding NYers how they can get their full-carry gun licenses. It's almost impossible.

Nov. 20 2013 10:31 AM
Joyce from NYC

When are we going to tell the truth here --

We suffered DECADES of being told:
The only way to decrease crime is to attack the ROOT CASUE -- e.i. poverty.

Now poverty is INCREASING and crime is DECREASING.

Then we are told the decrease is NATIONAL. A lie.

Most of the national decrease comes from New York.

Then we were told that Dinkins began the increase in police.

But now the drop in crime comes with a drop in police.

Then we are told that sure, you can stop crime by locking people up.



Some people seem to not want to know.

Nov. 20 2013 10:30 AM
Amy from Manhattan

WNYC recently aired a story that people who've been stop-&-frisked are less likely to report crimes. That implies that some of the reduction in crime statistics is due to less reporting, not fewer crimes.

Nov. 20 2013 10:30 AM
Robert from NYC

So, some people are idiots. There are all kinds. We must respect each other one and all. {Yawn}

Nov. 20 2013 10:30 AM
Mike from Tribeca

If Bill Bratton is an "outsider," granny smith is not an apple.

Nov. 20 2013 10:28 AM
Robert from NYC

And I thought I was a cynic!!

Nov. 20 2013 10:28 AM
Jessie Henshaw from way uptown

Somehow the main cause and cure for changing crime rates keeps getting neglected...

What about what the rapid shifts in local culture that cause communities to abandon crime cultures? Are they caused by the police suddenly having less to do????

That weird explanation seems better supported by the data, unfortunately, that decreasing crime rates are caused by the police having spare time and needing to find something else to do, for running low on "bad guys" to chase as if they depleted their supply... what a farse.

Nov. 20 2013 10:27 AM

Your discussion assumes that more guns means more crime. But see John Lott, "More Guns, Less Crime".
Dept. of Justice figures show that disarming victims increases violent crime.
For example:
DC Homicides 1976
188 Homicides in 1976
1976 DC bans all guns
369 Homicides in 1988
454 homicides 1993
2007 Gun ban found unconstitutional
September 2008 DC allows ownership of semiautomatic handguns for home defense.
186 Homicides in 2008
88 Homicides in 2012

Nov. 20 2013 10:24 AM
MikeInBrklyn from Clinton Hill

Maybe that caller from Clinton Hill lives near the address of one of the two major office holders in the neighborhood: Brooklyn DA, Ken Thompson and Public Advocate, Tish James. I Thompson's neighbor and suddenly my block is a lot safer.

I must admit it was refreshing to engage in a human conversation with the patroling officer.

Nov. 20 2013 10:21 AM
Tony from Canarsie

CaptainDrG -- "The largest increase in NYC's murder rate came just after the 1911 Sullivan Law disarmed the 99% who are law abiding."

The Sullivan Law did not "disarm" gun owners. It regulated guns, not abolish them. The law was enacted in reaction to gun murders having risen around 50% during the previous two years.

Nov. 20 2013 10:20 AM

Sullivan Law of 1911 had several things to going for it:
1. Sullivan represented a dock district, and many of his constituents were muggers. Sullivan was leader of a notorious Irish gang. Their criminal work was impeded by the fact that citizens were arming themselves before going to that bad neighborhood, thereby making robbery a dangerous business. Sullivan wanted to protect his criminal constituents from armed victims, and his law has made New York safe for robbers ever since.
2. Tammany wanted to disarm Italians and blacks. The law served the same racist purposes that gun control served in Dixie: to disarm disfavored races. That's why the pistol licensing agent has unbridled discretion to discriminate under the Sullivan Law.
3. Tammany Hall wanted to be able to arrest political opponents.
4. Sullivan was crazy anyway, and soon was committed to an insane asylum. He eventually committed suicide. The law is as insane as he was.

The law was passed about 1911, and has protected muggers from their victims since then.

Nov. 20 2013 10:15 AM
Tony from Canarsie

Stop, frisk and tax the rich!

Nov. 20 2013 10:14 AM

The largest increase in NYC's murder rate came just after the 1911 Sullivan Law disarmed the 99% who are law abiding.

Nov. 20 2013 10:14 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Does taking 1/2 as many guns off the street mean that more guns are being missed or that fewer people are carrying guns?

Nov. 20 2013 10:10 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Of course if they counted abortions as murders, the numbers would be much different.

Nov. 20 2013 10:08 AM

Are you implying that despite the appeal that the PD is attempting to prove that S&F is necessary and purposefully dragging their feet to demo the correlation between S&F and lower crime?

Nov. 20 2013 10:08 AM
Stephen from Prospect Heights

I would like to take a step back. I do not understand an element of stop and frisk. I agree that the police have not always stayed within the restraints of stop and frisk, but if the PD is sending cops to areas that are crime ridden that is data-driven, isn't race just the coincidence rather than a function of the data? Please help me understand.

Yes, stop and frisk needs to be reformed, but throw the baby out with the bath water?

Nov. 20 2013 10:04 AM

But has crime increased because of the reduction of SAF?

Nov. 20 2013 10:01 AM

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