Only 3% of 2.4 Million Stop-and-Frisk Incidents in New York Led to Convictions

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Four years of stop-and-frisk by New York City police—a controversial practice ruled unconstitutional earlier this year—resulted in only a 3% conviction rate among those stopped, the state’s attorney general reported this week.


The practice of stop-and-frisk allowed police officers to frisk people they thought might commit a crime.


Officers stopped about 2.4 million individuals between 2009 and 2012, and arrested 150,000 (6%)—of whom only half were found guilty or pleaded guilty, according to a report (pdf) by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office.


Two percent of those arrested – or 0.1% of all stops – led to a conviction for a violent crime, and only 2% of arrests led to a conviction for possession of a weapon. The most common offence was possession of marijuana.


“It’s our hope that this report–the first of its kind–will advance the discussion about how to fight crime without overburdening our institutions or violating equal justice under the law,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “The vast amount of data we analyzed over four years should serve as a helpful guide to municipalities and law enforcement officials around the state, where stop and frisk practices are used to varying degrees.”


The “stop, question and frisk” employed by the NYPD was ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge after civil rights activists challenged the policy, claiming it unfairly targeted minorities.


“The attorney general’s report has confirmed what young men of color have known for years–that the Bloomberg administration’s stop-and-frisk crusade is targeting innocent people and is pathetically ineffective and inefficient in apprehending criminals,” New York Civil Liberties Union executive director Donna Lieberman told The Guardian. “The new administration must make reforming the NYPD and its abuse of street interrogations a top priority.”


The administration of outgoing mayor Michael Bloomberg is appealing the judge’s ruling. But the appeal may not continue once the city’s mayor-elect, Bill de Blasio, who opposed the policy, takes office.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

Stop-and-Frisk: Only 3% of 2.4m Stops Result in Conviction, Report Finds (by Adam Gabbatt, The Guardian)

Stop-and-Frisk: New York AG Report Questions its Effectiveness (by Harry Bruinius, Christian Science Monitor)

A Report on Arrests Arising from the New York City Police Department’s Stop-and-Frisk Practices (New York State Office of the Attorney General) (pdf)

Intimidation of Minorities Said to be Intent of NYPD “Stop and Frisk” Program (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)

NYPD Practice of Stopping and Frisking Pedestrians Is Ruled Unconstitutional (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Danny Biederman, AllGov)


Raider 10 years ago
It seems that the stop and frisk campaign was an attempt to condition people into accepting police state tactics.
anonamouse 10 years ago
The percentage of arrests for possession of pot must have been truly, shockingly high, because no story that I've seen, including yours, discloses the number. What's your best guess, Noel? Ninety percent? Ninety-five? If pot were legal in NYC (as it surely will be someday), how long do you suppose the city would have continued to violate the 4th Amendment --- considering the tiny number of guns or violent criminals that were found as a result of these illegal searches?

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