Stop-and-frisk activity by New York City police officers is on the rise, says the Wall Street Journal. In the first three months of this year, officers filed 183,326 “stop, question and frisk” reports, up sharply over the same period a year earlier and the highest number recorded since the city began releasing information on stop-and-frisk activity in 2004. The stop-and-frisk policy has come under fire from civil rights advocates because only a small percentage of stops have led to charges. Data on stops show that blacks are disproportionately stopped by police.
For the first quarter of this year, 11,925 of those stopped were arrested and another 10,292 were issued criminal summonses, meaning that 12.1 percent of stops led to charges or arrests, a slight decline from the same period a year earlier. Over the first quarter, 50.6 percent of those stopped were black, 26.6 percent where categorized as white Hispanic, 9.2 percent were white, 6.8 percent were black Hispanic and 3.7 percent were Asian. Last year for the first quarter, 53.3% were black, 25.7% were white Hispanic, 9.2% were white, 6.1% were black Hispanic and 3.1% were Asian. Policer say the descriptions of criminal suspects, and not overall population demographics, guide its decisions on whom to stop, and when. The police believe the practice has helped them reduce the crime rate.