New York City police officers stopped more than half a million people on the streets last year, more than in any previous 12-month period in the years since the Police Department began reporting the data, reports the New York Times. The 531,159 stops made last year – up from 468,932 in 2007 – led to 31,665 arrests and 34,081 summonses, a ratio of stops to arrests roughly equal to 2007, said the New York Civil Liberties Union.
The numbers show that roughly 88 percent of those stopped in each of the past two years had done nothing wrong, said the ACLU’s Christopher Dunn. In 2008, 51.1 percent of the people stopped were black, 31.5 percent were Hispanic and 10.8 percent white. “At a time when police services are being cut back, one would think the department would have better things to do than to stop and frisk hundreds of thousands of black and Latino New Yorkers who have done nothing wrong,” Dunn said. “This is an area where less policing would actually be better for the city.” Police spokesman Paul Browne said, “”It is disingenuous to use strictly population proportions without accounting for reported crime. Minorities are disproportionately the victims of crime, and the police respond to where crime is reported.”