The number of times New York City police officers stopped, questioned, and frisked people dropped 22 percent last year from 2011, the New York Times reports. The decrease, from 685,000 to 533,000, came amid criticism from civil-rights advocates who argue that the practice unfairly target minorities, most of whom are released without charges.
In last year’s first quarter, there were 203,500 stops, 11 percent over 2011’s first quarter. After criticism from a federal judge and widening protests, the police started new training. For the year, the police seized 39 fewer illegal firearms, a drop of 4 percent. Police spokesman Paul Browne attributed the lower numbers to more training and a shift in deployment. Fewer officers have been assigned to Operation Impact, which puts recent Police Academy graduates in high-crime neighborhoods with instructions to seek out suspicious behavior. New York Civil Liberties Union director Donna Lieberman said guns were found in 0.1 percent of stops, “an unbelievably poor yield rate for such an intrusive, wasteful, and humiliating police action.”