Stop and Frisk

Stop and Frisk an 'Abject Failure,' Says NYC Councilman

Accuses officials of ever-shifting rationales for the practice


Stop-and-Frisk is, without question, one of the city's most polarizing police practices, so it comes as no surprise that the Museum of the City of New York was packed last night for a forum in which prominent New Yorkers gathered to discuss—and occasionally, bicker—about the tactic's effectiveness.

The four panelists—John Feinblatt, a chief advisor to Mayor Bloomberg; Franklin Zimring, UC Berkeley law professor and expert on New York City's crime reduction: Alex Vitale, a sociology professor at Brooklyn College; and Councilman Jumaane Williams, who knows a thing or two about getting stopped by cops—bandied various opinions on the benefits of stop-and-frisk as an effective crime fighting tool, versus its controversial execution. …

Councilman Williams, an outspoken advocate against the department's abundant use of stop-and-frisk, argued that there exists no concrete connection between increased use of the measure and cessation of crime. Moreover, he said, officials are constantly shifting the explanation for the purpose of stop-and-frisk, first claiming it was a tool for removing guns from the street, then that it was to prevent shootings and finally, that it was to lower the murder rate.

"They show the numbers, and say 'Look what we're doing,' but they don't tell you the cost of what we're doing," he said. "Stop-and-frisk has been an abject failure."