Stop and Frisk Rises in Brooklyn

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The use of controversial police tactic stop and frisk has decreased in the City after coming under increased scrutiny and a lawsuit, but spiked in select areas of Brooklyn, The New York Daily News reported. Specifically, stop and frisk was up 66 percent in Brownsville and 45 percent in East New York from 2011 to 2012. Its use in Bed Stuy increased 6 percent, 3 percent in Greenpoint and 2 percent in Bensonhurst, while it dropped precipitously in Williamsburg — by 44 percent. As has been the case for years, very few of those stops found actual law breaking: 89 percent of stops did not result in an arrest or summons, the Daily News reported. Those that did were mostly for marijuana; 12.6 percent of those stopped were carrying a gun or other weapon. Interpretations of the change in policing varied widely. “We are seeing the next chapter,” said John Jay College professor and former officer Eugene O’Donnell. “Good stop-and-frisk should be targeted. They’ve identified a pattern, a spike in crime, and they are throwing resources at it.” And, on the other side: “The Police Department continues, against any possible rational analysis of the data, to insist that the stop and frisk program is both necessary and effective, and to target young black and Latino New Yorkers, who are so innocent of any wrongdoing that they walk away without a summons,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman. What do you think? Is stop and frisk effective and constitutional, or are the police just harassing law abiding citizens who happen to live in the poorest parts of Brooklyn?
Stop and Frisk Is up in Brooklyn [NY Daily News]
Photo by jag9889

53 Comment

  • Every gun & knife confiscated probably represents a life saved.

  • Probably the only thing that annoys me about it is they are using the public emergency clause of the law to execute these warrantless profiled searches to search for weapons, yet they are actually arresting and/or ticketing for marijuana, something NOT a public threat. Since apparently it isn’t actually a crime to carry a small amount for personal use, or even if it were, that isn’t what they are supposed to be searching for and if found the should only be able to tell them to stick it back in their pocket as they would any other person not being profiled and searched, not ticket or arrest them for drugs since that is not the public safety issue they are using to perform these searches. Meanwhile there have been what, 5000+ arrests for marijuana from these searches but only a few for actual weapons? Seems to me like more of a quota or money grab from tickets and fines than a real public safety situation, which knowing the city and NYPD isn’t a surprise to me. I really don’t have a problem if they are simply searching for weapons and if they find no weapons them let them go regardless of whatever else they have on them that isn’t a threat to public safety. What next, arresting them for pirated music they have on their iPods?

    • totally agree. I have a friend who is a cop and he told me himself that they get paid more money in OT for arrest. Which tells me they will find a reason to bring you in regardless if the initial intent was to search based on suspicion. As a matter of fact its a known thing in Urban areas amongst urban youth that Tuesdays and Thursdays are days which the streets are flooded with heavy police activity. They call it TNT.

      • And therein lies the problem with illegal search and seizures, the key word being ILLEGAL. In fact I would go as far as saying any officer who breaks the law to get this OT money should he himself (or herself) be arrested, sentenced, jailed, and stripped of their position. Breaking the law is breaking the law regardless of who does it. Of course we know some folks are above the law. I get really tired of paying city taxes only to have them paid out in settlements over these kinds of illegal activities. Whichever mayoral candidate vows to tackle this out of control dept will get my vote. Not that I am anti-police. I am not. I am for the police acting within legal means to do their jobs, and when doing their jobs to actually follow the laws, not make them up as they go and pay out settlements later.

  • stop and frisk is an ineffective policy predicated on a system of class/race inequality. this stat proves it all – “89 percent of stops did not result in an arrest or summons, the Daily News reported. Those that did were mostly for marijuana; 12.6 percent of those stopped were carrying a gun or other weapon.” i’d be surprised if these figures were any higher or lower in more affluent neighborhoods.

    • Yeah, I’m sure 12.6% of people in Brooklyn Heights are packin

      • I agree. I don’t think 12.6% of the skinny jean crowd or the stroller moms in WBurg, or even 12.6% of my old Italian neighbors are packin either.

        • that’s not the correct stat. 12.6 of those arrested had a “weapon.” that’s less than 1% of the total stopped

          • Well that definitely makes more sense then. I was thinking if 12.6% of everyone stopped had a weapon then they really should be stopping even more folks. That would be a lot of weapons and a lot of people. I didn’t read the article, only the summary above. I feel S&F probably is inherently classicist or racist, but I figure the thinking is what percentage-wise groups are committing the most of the type crimes that these specific officers are searching for? Likewise, when the IRS is looking for tax fraud criminals, it’s probably rich white men who are being profiled and audited. When looking for mafia activity it’s usually old white Italian men in Wburg. Whatever specific group of people a certain enforcement agency believes is committing whatever crime they are looking for will be the ones who are targeted. Right or wrong I can’t say. I do however think weapons should be the ONLY thing they are allowed to look for under this act.

          • if we allow profiling, at least the way you describe (looking at an entire race or class of people rather than looking at individuals associated specifically with crimes), then all our freedoms begin to unravel.

          • It’s too late for that. These kinds of profiling have been going on for decades in every enforcement agency: NYPD, LAPD, TSA, Homeland Security, IRS, DEA, etc. Each agency has their own ideas of certain groups to target for extra screening based on past experience/data. I’m just pointing them out, not necessarily agreeing with them.

        • You are right they might not be packing with the intent to commit a serious crime however they could be wholesales(guns, weed, coke, heroine, bath salt etc) who distribute to these crime ridden communities. Hiding out in area such as yours because they know the cops will not suspect those neighborhoods of harboring such criminal activity. Unfortunately crime is everywhere my friend

          • No doubt there probably are stashes of these types of things in various places in WB and you are right, they probably will eventually be sold to those communities. This is and has always been (since 1906 or so) a hotbed for the mob who do such things. The thing is they aren’t walking around carrying these things on them to be stopped and frisked which was my point. If you stop and frisked the majority of folks in WB you wouldn’t find 12.6% of them carrying illegal weapons. Drugs, possibly >12.6%. But again you cannot usurp the constitution for unconstitutional searches except for conditions of public safety. The actual written law is pretty explicit when it comes to that. With regard to the stashes and wholesalers, I’m sure the appropriate agencies are following whatever laws they need to be following to locate and prosecute these as they are able to. Fighting these types of crimes has been going on for as long as mankind has had laws about them. I’m told my block used to be full of speak-easys and bootleggers during prohibition. This article though is discussing S&F.

        • ” of my old Italian neighbors are packin either.”

          no, but their 30 something perma-kids are slinging blow in the WB bars.

          • That they are, but we are talking about usurping the 4th amendment under the guise of public safety with the special exemption being for weapons. If they want to tackle the war on drugs, let them use constitutional means.

      • “gun or other weapon.” who knows what that could mean. dibs, the rich people i know own way more weapons than the poor ones. that’s moot however. it’s a matter of reasonable cause. being a minority or looking “dangerous” is not reasonable cause. i’m sure you’d be pissed if you got stopped and frisked on the street because another white, gay man was recently responsible for a crime in the area. or maybe you wouldn’t?

        • No, I wouldn’t since I’m not doing anything wrong.

          • really? minor government regulation impinges on your freedoms but being stopped and frisked for the way you look is fine?

          • dibs has never been very good at making sense.

          • well he definitely isn’t very good at it now that’s for sure

          • Neither are most people who are stopped for walking or driving while black.

          • Very true, MM. There is a disconnect between anti-”big government” people who are fans of “stop and frisk” laws. For every gun they confiscated or black kid’s life ruined for carrying pot in his pocket, there are many more searches that lead to nothing more than increased feelings of disenfranchisement and catalysts for anti-social behavior. It is easy to use the “If you aren’t doing anything wrong argument…” when you are white, but anyone who has been harassed or arrested by the police for having the audacity to be in public as a minority will beg to differ. For the innocent, it is humiliating, traumatic, and counter-productive.

  • I think you misread the statistic, Cate: it’s 12.6% of those actually arrested that had a gun or weapon (that’s 4061 weapons found out of 532,911 total stops.) Big difference, and represents less than 8 people out of every thousand stopped.

  • 4061 weapons is a hell of a lot of weapons. 4061 likely fewer deaths from these cretins

  • ah, stop-and-frisk always exposes the brooklyn limousine liberals

  • Here is the thing I don’t understand about this war on guns and drugs. We live in a society where a suspected bomb threat can be averted or a perp can be caught in a matter of days. We have a strong command on all the terror cells throughout the world and have sophisticated surveillance cameras on street posts, building and in space. And despite all of that we are unable to stop drugs and guns from flooding the streets of our cities. The crime did not begin when these guns are put into the hands of urban youth it begins when they are bought wholesale and later sold to the streets. To me its seems like this is being allowed to happen to put more urban youth in jail(I can back this claim up). Stop & Frisk is totally unconstitutional because it targets a group based on low socio-economical and often racial backgrounds. The police need to focus on the folks who bring in the drugs and guns in the neighborhood. You cut that off and then you will not have as much crime in those neighborhoods.

  • So young black and hispanic men must have their rights violated en masse “to keep us safe” & deliver “good stats” – so says our “3rd” term mayor. And you know what? They deserve it because they accept it.

    So King Mike felt emboldened, with his money, to go tell white middle America to give up their guns and they told him, via the NRA – to go f**** himself – they didn’t accept it, good for them.

    You get the government you deserve.

  • I’m not sure what the problem is here. You get stopped and frisk – if you don’t have anything illegal on your person, they let you go and you move on with your day. Trust me, I hate dealing with law enforcement just as much as the next guy for traffic and parking violations and other petty quality of life crimes (drinking in the park, etc.), and they can be pretty damn disrespectful to all of us regardless of neighborhood, skin color, and socioeconomic background.

    • Its a big deal when a person who does not have anything is continuously stopped and frisked under the pretense of suspicion. Normally those persons are people of color thus there is no correlation between your isolated experience. The experience you highlighted: traffic tickets parking violations and drinking in the park you all of which you were wrong in those instances and therefore you had to deal with the law. And certainly everyone has dealt with the law at some point in their lives especially in your case when you have done wrong however if you are constantly the target of S&F based on alleged suspicion then that would represent a problem.

  • And for the record, any marijuana-related arrests are a waste of time and resources – I think most everyone can agree.

  • Dibs summed it up best. “No I wouldn’t since I’m not doing anything wrong”. Even if the policy “only” took 1000 guns off the street then it is worth it. Gotta wonder how some of these posters would ultimately feel deep down inside if their child were killed by one of these unregistered guns. I would not wish gun violence on my worst enemy. I am concerned for my general safety and for my neighbors as well.Stop & frisk may not be perfect but,it puts criminals on notice and that is a far smaller price than an innocent life.
    Ironic too how the country is embroiled in gun registration issues when the vast majority of guns that are confiscated are unregistered.

  • Vague descriptions like Tall Black Guy with a Jean Jacket can get you stopped and frisked… Don’t be the tall black guy with the Jean Jacket who left has wallet at home… NO ID can lead you to Central Booking…

  • Is anyone else worried about initiatives that will intimidate our police force into NOT stopping a suspect based on either an eyewitness description or suspicious behavior? That is exactly what Brooklyn councilman Brad Lander intends to have happen by allowing racial profiling lawsuits against individual officers, in state courts. In theory that may sound fair, but in practice it will tie the NYPD in knots and scare individual cops into a state of inaction.

    A place no less expert on gun violence than Chicago has their own city Treasurer, Stephanie Neely, recently calling for their own version of a ‘stop and frisk’ law. In a March 2013 article in the Chicago Tribune, Ms. Neely said the following needed to be done to get the gun violence down in her South Side neighborhood: the Chicago Police Department need to adopt a “proactive and courageous strategy known as ‘stop-and-frisk’.”

    Speaking of women, a lovely young woman came to my Park Slope stoop last week, and I will call her Melinda because I actually can’t remember her name. She lives in Bed-Stuy and was giving out pamphlets for Charles “Joe’ Hynes, who is running to be re-elected as Brooklyn’s DA. Her single most important issue was ensuring safety in her neighborhood, where gun seizures are a critical component. She spoke glowingly of Mr. Hynes for making this happen, and the occasional heightened police presence when there is crime committed in her neighborhood. At no point did she speak of racial profiling as a concern. I think if the police do abandon her neighborhood either in fact or in kind, she will feel very put upon.

    Let’s address racial profiling and ‘stop and frisk’ for a moment. The statistic that is meant to prove racial profile is the following: blacks make up 55% of all ‘stop and frisks’ and comprise 24% of the population. And whites make up 10% of all ‘stop and frisks’ and comprise 35% of the population. But doing the math this way is incorrect, and recasting the scenario will help explain why.

    Suppose happiness suddenly became contagious and were spread by NYC animals, but mostly by squirrels, and we wanted to do a testing program in order to find and breed the animals most likely to spread happiness. If 55% of the squirrels were tested but only comprised 24% of the animal population would we think we were over-testing the squirrels? We can’t tell because we are’t asking the right question. The right question is: what is the proportion of squirrels to animals being tested compared to the proportion of squirrels that have this happiness virus?

    To carry the analogy forward, we might find that 9.7% of all tests for the happiness virus are on cats but only 6.9% of cats carry this bug. That is to be compared to squirrels where 54.1% of the squirrels are tested, though a much higher proportion have it – at 66.4%. And we would then realize that we should actually be testing the squirrels more.

    Back to our real scenario, these are the statistics in NYC: 9.7% of all stop and frisks are on whites who make up 6.9% of violent crime suspects where the ratio for blacks is 54.1% to 66.4%. Even if the numbers are not exactly correct, this is the correct math, and they would not be orders of magnitude away from reality. In sum, the statistical outcomes of ‘stop and frisk’ laws don’t involve racial profiling. And please know I know there are individuals who feel their personal space has been intruded on, and are even worried about the practice for fear of having a minor offense surface and be used against them as a result, so no doubt there is room for improvement in the law. But what Brad Lander has put together is quite dangerous.

    I am going to appeal to the pecuniary portion of your brain for a moment. Do not forget that house values depend on NYC in general being safe, not just this or that neighborhood. So if you care about your personal safety, the safety of Melinda in Bed-Stuy, or more superficially your home value, you should think about sending an email to Brad Lander letting him know that hand cuffing the NYPD by allowing untold frivolous lawsuits against individual cops, especially based on incorrect statistics, is not acceptable. This is his email: lander@council.nyc.gov. And please do so urgently before Aug 22, the deadline by which one councilman has to change his/her mind on this.