Stop and Frisk

NYC civil liberties


Walking around New York is becoming a hazardous activity, thanks to the city's stop-and-frisk program. The policy, which has existed for years but intensified in 2009, is designed to prevent crime by identifying suspicious behavior; skulkers, smirkers, smokers, and other shifty-looking folks attract a friendly greeting and a not-so-friendly pat-down by a representative of the New York Police Department (NYPD). In the first six months of 2009, a record 273,000 New Yorkers were grabbed as part of the program.

In August the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) crunched the city's official statistics and found that between April and June, there were 140,552 stops. In nine out of 10 cases, the stops resulted in no charges and no citation. Racial minorities are more likely to attract police attention: A disproportionate 84 percent of the springtime stops involved blacks or Hispanics; only 10 percent involved white people.

Once Big Apple residents have been frisked, protocol dictates that the names and home addresses of the innocent and guilty alike go into an NYPD database established in 2004. "Innocent New Yorkers who are the victims of unjustified police stops should not suffer the further harm of having their personal information kept in an NYPD database, which simply makes them targets for future investigations," NYCLU Associate Legal Director Christopher Dunn said in a press release.

While the number of stops has risen sharply in recent months, police have clocked an impressive 2.5 million stops in the last five and a half years, an average of 1,260 a day. In 2009, the NYCLU estimates that New York's boys in blue are on track for well over 600,000 new entries in their database by the end of the year, half a million of whom won't have done anything that merited so much as a jaywalking ticket.

NEXT: Full Service

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. How is this policy justified? This is a blatant violation of the 4th Amendment! Surely this has been contested. What happened? I’m glad I was never stopped by NYPD for a frisk with no search warrant because I suppose I would have been arrested for declining to submit.

    I don’t understand why the people in the city are not up in arms about this policy.

    1. You obviously aren’t aware that the new brand of liberalism has nothing but contempt for personal liberty and little use for the individual.

      New Yorker City dwellers are not up in arms because they are capital ‘L’ Liberals, in other words lovers of authoritarian rule.

      It may be comforting to know that what’s happening will no longer be upsetting after you realize living the way they choose to in NYC can never be enough and they won’t be satisfied until we are all forced to accept the detestable form of rule they so highly prize.

  2. What the fuck? How is this legal?

  3. My only point is that if you take the Bible straight, as I’m sure many of Reasons readers do, you will see a lot of the Old Testament stuff as absolutely insane. Even some cursory knowledge of Hebrew and doing some mathematics and logic will tell you that you really won’t get the full deal by just doing regular skill english reading for those books. In other words, there’s more to the books of the Bible than most will ever grasp. I’m not concerned that Mr. Crumb will go to hell or anything crazy like that!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.