Stop and Frisk

Stops Are Down in New York, and So Are Homicides

|

Office of the Mayor

Police counted 154 homicides in New York City during the first half of this year, down from 202 during the first half of last year. That decrease, The New York Times notes, coincided with a sharp decline in stop-and-frisk encounters: There were fewer than 100,000 in the first three months of this year, compared to 203,500 during the first three months of last year. On its face, the conjunction of a 24-percent drop in homicides with a 50-percent drop in street stops seems to count against the claim that the latter play an important role in preventing the former. But the NYPD has a couple of explanations, one of which lends support to the argument that the stop-and-frisk program, effective or not, is unconstitutional:

Police commanders point to what they say is the long half-life of the deterrent effect of stop-and-frisk, saying that criminals may decide to leave their guns at home because they have been stopped in the past, even if the odds of a stop have decreased in recent months. And the police say the decrease in violence has most likely led to a corresponding decrease in suspicious behavior, which results in fewer stops. 

The second explanation—that when there are fewer homicides there is also less suspicious behavior of the sort that leads to stops—is superficially plausible but does not make much sense when you think about it. Even if suspicious behavior of all kinds were directly proportional to the murder rate, why would the decline in stops be more than twice as big as the decline in homicides? Furthermore, in the context of strong public criticism and federal litigation challenging the stop-and-frisk program, the recent sharp drop in stops looks like a deliberate effort to rein in use of the tactic, not a natural consequence of less crime. But at least this explanation is consistent with the idea that police stop someone only when they have "reasonable suspicion" that he is engaged in criminal activity.

Not so the first explanation. If the aim of these stops is deterring people from carrying guns, as opposed to finding weapons or stopping crimes in progress, they clearly are not based on the individualized suspicion that the Supreme Court has said is required by the Fourth Amendment. Rather, as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg himself has suggested, the stop-and-frisk program is like a DUI checkpoint that randomly stops cars in an effort to deter drunk driving. Just as such DUI checkpoints rarely catch drunk drivers, the NYPD's street stops almost never discover weapons. According tio Bloomberg, that shows the stops are working. But randomly detaining and frisking young black and Latino men in an effort to discourage them from carrying guns is plainly inconsistent with Terry v. Ohio, the Supreme Court decision on which the constitutionality of the program depends. A frisk is always supposed to be based on a reasonable suspicion that the subject is armed, a crucial fiction that the mayor and the police department frequently forget.

Bloomberg apparently remembered the reasonable-suspicion requirement on Friday, when he argued that the targets of stops are overwhelmingly black and Latino because blacks and Latinos are more suspicious than whites, committing the vast majority of homicides (90 percent, according to the city's figures). That was, believe it or not, Bloomberg's attempt to rebut the charge that the NYPD engages in racial profiling. But Bloomberg's defense presupposes that police stop and frisk people based on "specific and articulable facts," which his DUI-checkpoint analogy implicitly concedes is not really true.

NEXT: A. Barton Hinkle on Why It's Time to Legalize Gay Marriage Nationwide

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 Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. http://www.salon.com/2013/07/0…..and_frisk/

    There is one important thing you have to remember about Michael Bloomberg: He is an asshole.

    1. Best quote:

      Bloomberg, as he often does, is trying his very hardest to get his many liberal admirers to notice how illiberal he is. His money can be used to browbeat gun-loving redstate hicks, sure, but he is also more than happy to use it to get his way in a fight over whether or not the police are supposed to be a full-time minority-harassment squad.

      Yeah it’s great that he drives those goddamned not-from-the-northeast hillbillies crazy, but he does other, bad things!

      1. They also continue to only care about stop and frisk because of its racial undertones, and don’t give a shit about the fact that it’s wrong to stop American citizens without cause no matter what.

        I love that liberals would apparently be totally cool with stop and frisk if they stopped white and black people in direct proportion to their percentages in society.

        1. and don’t give a shit about the fact that it’s wrong to stop American citizens without cause no matter what.

          Is it weird that libertarians in general hold this sentiment, yet somehow we’re all racist bushfags or something?

  2. My first thought was, “must be less cops shooting people that led to the decrease in homicide”

    Then I realized that, silly me, cops don’t commit homicide, only justified shootings.

    1. Justified shootings are still homicide.

  3. This guy will probably get a 4th term.

    But in happier news, I for one, am just really happy that the state is protecting us from dangerous catfish sellers.

    Dangerous catfish selling

    1. Technically he can’t. Of course, technically, he couldn’t have a third term either. So we’ll see how far he goes into banana republic territory at the next term.

      1. It could turn out better for NYC residents if he can’t run again. They could get the Weener man.

        1. Like I said, NYC mayors are technically limited to two terms. Last time, he strongarmed the city council into authorizing a third term. Will he do so again? Can he do so again? I wouldn’t be surprised if he did, or at least tried, but I would think the council would resist.

          1. Well, he has to nanny somewhere, or society will suffer. How will people know how much soda to drink, or how much sodium they can have? So where will he wind up if NYC gives him the boot?

            1. Cabinet post in the Clinton/Biden administration.

              1. I think you have it figured out.

              2. Cabinet post in the Clinton/Biden administration.

                *barf*

            2. So where will he wind up if NYC gives him the boot?

              I just thought about this for a minute and realized: he will be doing this Mayors Against Illegal Guns bullshit full time.

              I never thought I would want Bloomberg to get a fourth term as mayor of NYC but…

              1. The only way to eliminate illegal guns is to legalize all guns. Has anyone pointed this out to him?

              2. “I never thought I would want Bloomberg to get a fourth term as mayor of NYC but…”

                The way I look at it, if you voluntarily live in New York City proper … you deserve what you get. Sorry, but its true. I might make an exception for recent immigrants who don’t know any better but within a year if they stay in the city they too deserve what they get.

                Sorry, but its true.

            3. Commissar of Health

          2. I would think the council would resist.

            Then he’ll just dissolve the council permanently, and give regional governors direct control over their burroughs.

            1. Does he have some sort of battlestation? One that perhaps the fear of would keep the local aldermen in line?

              1. Uh, have you seen that black limo with the AC unit hanging out of it? I think that answers your question.

              2. Does he have some sort of battlestation? One that perhaps the fear of would keep the local aldermen in line?

                He does have his own army.

        2. Weiner thinks NYC needs higher taxes, should pay for the health care of illegal aliens, and that public-employee unions don’t have enough power. Bloomberg is a fool about lots of things, but Weiner would be a lot like going back to Dinkins.

          By the way, have DUI checkpoints ever been challenged constitutionally?

          1. Sitz

            Assholes admitted it was a violation of the 4th, but declared a exception for compelling state interest.

            1. Ah yes, an invasion rationally related to achieving a compelling state interest. It’s as close as a court will ever come to outright saying “because fuck you, that’s why.”

            2. Definitely don’t remember reading the “compelling state interest” clause. Lemme check….

              Nope…

              sigh.

          2. When you wonder why NYC elects assholes like Bloomberg and Giuliani, it makes a little more sense when you look at who they are running against.

      2. I hope New Yorkers continue to get the government they vote for.

        1. It’s nice that you wish ill on all the NYC residents who never voted for Bloomberg. Collectivising a voter block is kind of disgusting. It doesn’t seem like you.

          1. Look, they picked Giuliani before. How much slack do you want me to cut them? After five full terms of full on dictatorial mayorship, all of my sympathy has evaporated. They gave him a third term which means that there are more in favor or apathetic than opposed, unless they have more felons than apathetic, which I guess might be possible given their strong penchant for white and blue collar crime.

            1. You do realize that tons and tons of people in NYC, just like in the entire country, look at the options they are given for mayor and go “wow, these all suck, fuck it I’m not voting” and then just keep their heads down? You do get that right?

              Attempts to collectivize the voting habits of a city of millions and millions of people, most of whom probably didn’t even vote, is absurd. Doing it is disgusting. It’s not like Bloomberg got anywhere near 50% of the total vote, and even if he did, that would only be half the population. Collectivizing people is fucking retarded.

              1. Does it count as collectivizing if I lump you in with all the other retards that I feel nothing but contempt for?

                1. Absolutely, JJ, but feel free anyway. I just want cake.

              2. Collectivizing people is fucking retarded.

                Not voting against the tallest midget after he puts on his Mussolini hat is also fucking retarded. Sorry you love your fellow NYers and pull out that trope when its your people. Doesn’t change how I feel about it or stop you from doing the same when its convenient.

                1. “My people”? I haven’t lived in NYC for 11 years, dude. But asking people to “vote against” Bloomberg is absurd. Who were they going to vote for? Wait, let me ask you a question. Obama is the president. Are you a scumbag because you live in the country he presides over and didn’t vote him out? I’m waiting for your answer.

                  1. Are you a scumbag because you live in the country he presides over and didn’t vote him out? I’m waiting for your answer.

                    Yes. Next question.

                    Also, the Salon article linked in the first quote links to another NY Post story about this, and the commentariat there…well…

                    Let’s just say they don’t exactly have enlightened 21st century beliefs about blacks NOT being some kind of shaved ape-men who would be left in peace if only they could manage to actually not commit some heinous crime very five seconds.

                    Seriously, most of the comments are along the lines of, “Well blacks are the majority of the criminals, so they should all be searched! Bloomberg is great because he brought ORDER! The 90s were a bloodbath! Central Park!”

                  2. Are you a scumbag because you live in the country he presides over and didn’t vote him out? I’m waiting for your answer.

                    Yes, and if I don’t either actively join an insurrection or move when they repeal the 22nd Amendment, I’ll be an even bigger scumbag.

                    1. So, you’re saying a person’s scumbaggery depends on which candidates other people vote for?

                2. Er, Brett, you do realize that there are loads of people in NYC who have never supported or voted for Bloomberg, right? Mayoral elections are not generally unanimous results. Most elections come out close to 50/50, so it is always dumb to be unsympathetic to people because of who their neighbors voted for.

                  1. Er, Brett, you do realize that there are loads of people in NYC who have never supported or voted for Bloomberg, right? Mayoral elections are not generally unanimous results.

                    Apathy is a bitch. And there are apparently enough people who don’t give a shit to change the results if they did give a shit. I don’t think he’s preventing the ones who disagree from leaving (or staying and working against him if that’s what they prefer) but we’ve all got the local government we deserve. Most of us good and hard.

                    1. Recoiling in disgust is not the same as apathy.

                    2. Apathy is a bitch.

                      How do you know they’re apathetic? There are people who live in New York because that’s where their job or family is. Those people could very well despise Bloomberg, make it known that they despise Bloomberg, give money against Bloomberg, and protest Bloomberg, which would make them not in any way apathetic.

                      I don’t know why you’re so intent to attack New Yorkers who don’t like Bloomberg simply because unrelated New Yorkers voted for the son of a bitch.

                    3. I don’t know why you’re so intent to attack New Yorkers

                      Because it’s New York, duh. That’s how it works around here.

                    4. Because it’s New York, duh. That’s how it works around here.

                      Oh yeah, you guys are so put upon underservedly.

                    5. I am quite the opposite of a fan of Bloomberg, yet I live in NYC. Strangely, there’s more to a city than who’s mayor.

            2. People from NYC love to bitch about everything. So they elect someone that they hate because that gives them one more thing to bitch about.

              That has to be it.

    2. But in happier news, I for one, am just really happy that the state is protecting us from dangerous catfish sellers.

      Dangerous catfish selling

      He’s lucky he wasn’t dealing with lobsters

  4. Bloomberg apparently remembered the reasonable-suspicion requirement on Friday, when he argued that the targets of stops are overwhelmingly black and Latino because blacks and Latinos are more suspicious than whites

    I’ve noticed we see Bloomberg and American commenting at the same time. Coincidence?

    1. we never see. Aurgh…

  5. I nominate the following for worst website of all time.

    ex vegans persecuted by ultra tolerant liberal vegans

    1. I put this up on FB and had an ex-vegan friend add himself. He considers it an honor.

      1. I’m surprised that the site worked long enough for him to be able to add himself. I was there for 10 minutes and got a dozen or so apache server errors.

        1. Its down again. All 3 reason readers who went over there crashed their server.

        2. You mean a group of vegans isn’t smart enough to set up a properly working apache server? Noooo, not possible.

          1. Us humans, like cats and dogs, got larger brains by consuming lots of protein.

            The vegans have cut off their main source of protein, so that their brains have shrank to the point that they can’t properly maintain an apache server. And apache is good, because it’s free. IIS is bad, because capitalist.

            1. Apache is good because it’s stable and lightweight, IIS is not (okay, it’s more stable than it used to be, but lightweight IIS isn’t). We have both in our environment and apache is easier to work with. Any idiot can deploy and run an apache server. So the vegans must have invented a special kind of super-idiot.

    2. Choice quotes:

      The spirits of the billions murdered have risen to deliver: The Vegan Sellout List ? an online directory of those who have regressed from moral consistency to moral depravity.

      The Vegan Sellout List is our answer to the epidemic of vegan sellouts ? those who are aware of the suffering caused by meat, dairy, egg, fur, and leather production, yet choose to look away while the animals suffer.

      Selling out veganism is a trend on the upswing, bringing with it swarms of haughty, nose-turning carnists uttering nonsensical buzzwords re: veganism being “privileged”, or “trendy”, critiquing themselves into ethical degeneracy and paleo-terrorism.

      And my favorite entry:

      Lydia Cruz
      Seattle

      She was a gluten-free vegan for 5 YEARS and used to be an inspiration to her young vegan listeners and radio fans. Then, one day, she suddenly decided that she enjoys MURDERING INNOCENT ANIMALS and devouring their flesh more than being a role-model. Now she parades around town in her yoga pants, eating entire packages of bacon on every street corner as a middle finger to honest vegans everywhere. Psh, Sell-out.

      1. What does gluten have to do with vegan? Is gluten an animal?

        1. It’s like the Cathars,

          Vegans are the ordinary believers, while gluten-free Vegans are the Perfect

          1. No, only level five vegans are perfect.

            1. Only if they pocket mulch.

        2. It’s a protein. It’s the stuff that makes break fluffy and chewey rather than flat and hard. From what I can tell, vegans don’t like it because a lot of grains have been selectively bred to increase their gluten content, so it’s a practically a GMO to them. Also, some people have a legitimate problem with gluten (celiac disease) and for reasons I’ve never looked into nor care about, vegans often imagine they also have celiac disease and should avoid gluten even though they need as much protein as they get.

          1. I can’t eat anything with gluten. I was sick as hell and didn’t know why until I found that out. I don’t have Celiac, I just get a severe allergy like reaction and had a lot of stomach problems, acid reflux from hell. It’s all cleared up now after 3 months gluten free. I never did eat too much bread or pasta, it was probably the beer that was making me sick. I was wondering why I started sneezing and getting all congested every time I would drink beer.

            A lot of people are doing gluten free as a trend sort of thing. I don’t suppose that will hurt them, it’s just silly though.

        3. Avoiding gluten means no wheat, barley, rye or triticale, so it makes being a vegan even tougher. After five years of that diet I’d be eating entire packages of bacon on every street corner, too.

          1. Gluten free is actually very easy, if you don’t like sandwiches and pasta too much. But there is gluten free bread, it’s expensive and not so good, but I imagine that there will be bread and pasta soon that will have had the gluten removed, like they do with beer, and you won’t be able to taste the difference.

            Vegan on the other hand, no fucking way I could do that.

            I wonder if when they start growing meat in labs, if the Vegans will be against that also, since no animal will have suffered by producing it?

            1. I wonder if when they start growing meat in labs, if the Vegans will be against that also, since no animal will have suffered by producing it?

              Yes.

      2. Is paleo-terrorism, like, stoning people? Spears of mass destruction?

        1. Concealed-carry fire-harden spears.

        2. In case you weren’t joking, it’s a reference to the meat-heavy paleo diet.

          1. I figured, which makes it idiotic hyphenated. Those would be paleo terrorists. Duh.

            1. I just got done cooking lunch on the grill, mostly meat.

              I guess the NSA was right to keep me on that terrorist list, after all.

      3. 1. It’s nice to see them admit that “privileged” is a nonsensical buzzword

        2. I like that the paleo diet is driving them up the wall. BACON AND EGGS, BITCHES!

      4. Now she parades around town in her yoga pants, eating entire packages of bacon on every street corner as a middle finger to honest vegans everywhere.

        I think we can safely file this under ‘shit that didn’t happen.’

        1. They are crazier than all of my ex-girlfriends rolled into one ball of crazy.

        2. Now she parades around town in her yoga pants

          Stupid, sexy Lydia!

  6. Is there a more punchable face than Mike Bloomberg? Nanny Lifetime Achievement AND Most Punchable Man in the Universe? Dude is epic.

    1. I dunno. Krugnuts, if not tied, is a very close second.

      1. Faces more punchable than Bloomberg:

        Patrick Kennedy

        Lindsey Graham

        Ezra Klein

        1. David Frum

        2. Not to mention that if you want to punch Bloomberg, you’ll have to get him to stand on a stool so that you don’t hurt your back from bending too far while punching downward.

          1. I can just imagine Bloomberg telling his psychiatrist:

            “I don’t have a Napoleon Complex! Napoleon had a me complex!” <- Stolen shamelessly from Phineas and Ferb

        3. Perez Hilton

          Pauli Shore

      2. Jonathan Chait

        Robert Reich

        There are a bunch of totalitarians more punchable than Bloomy.

    2. A better question is what statist fuck face is not punchable?

    3. My nephew makes that same face when he is messing his diaper.

  7. Homicides have dropped since (the original) Law & Order was cancelled.

    So Dick Wolf was to blame.

  8. Is Bloomburg the Giant Douche or the Shit Sandwich?

    1. Both.

  9. OT: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1357…..ollection/

    Another slide shows how the data is collected by an FBI “interception unit” installed at the companies involved and then passed on to “customers” at the NSA, FBI, or CIA. “Depending on the provider,” the program allows the NSA to “receive live notifications when a target logs on or sends an e-mail,” as well as “monitor a voice, text or voice chat as it happens.”

    So technically maybe Clapper was right. It wasn’t the NSA doing the collecting, it was the FBI. The NSA was just doing the receiving.

    1. The NSA are catchers, the FBI are pitchers.

  10. OT:

    Putin: Snowden must stop “damaging our American partners”

    http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-20…..-partners/

    WTF

    1. Looks like comrade Vlad just received a big ol pile of dollars from Obamas stash. I wonder if he also got a free cell phone in the deal?

    2. “If he wants to go somewhere and there are those who would take him, he is welcome to do that,” Putin said. “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.”

      Basically realpolitik. He doesn’t want constant hassles if Snowden stays

  11. Snowden applies for asylum in Russia

    Because there is nowhere else he can go.

    1. Could be the safest place for him anyway. Playing off one government against another.

      I trust RT for my news more than most U.S. based media.

    2. Jesus, those comments are rife with anti liberty vitriol.

  12. You can’t fairly compare a three month statistic with a six month statistic. Maybe the stops escalated in the second quarter of this year.

  13. Bloomberg’s defense presupposes that police stop and frisk people based on “specific and articulable facts,” which his DUI-checkpoint analogy implicitly concedes is not really true.

    By having a state issued driver’s license and driving your car with state issued license plates on a road owned and operated by the state, you have willingly renounced your Constitutional rights.

    Everybody knows that.

  14. “If he wants to stay here, there is one condition: he must stop his activities aimed at inflicting damage to our American partners, no matter how strange it may sound on my lips.”

    “I’m already tired of that whiny little bitch in the White House calling me and sniveling about this.”

  15. Stricter gun laws really work! The proof is everywhere, in Chicago… and Baltimore:

    40 shootings in Baltimore in 10 days

    Damn those gun crazed teabaggers! We have to get them off the streets in Balmer, hon!

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.