Last year, New York City police officers stopped 46,784 women, frisking nearly 16,000. Guns were found in 59 cases, says the New York Times. While the number of women stopped by officers represented 6.9 percent of all stops, the rate of guns found on both men and women was equally low. Civil rights leaders argue that the low gun-recovery rates are a strong indication that most stop-and-frisk encounters are legally unjustified.
Stops of women by male officers can often involve embarrassment and perhaps sexual intimidation. Many incorrectly believe that the police, like Transportation Security Administration officers, are required to have female officers frisk women. Police officers are trained to slide their hands over the external clothing, focusing on “the waistband, armpit, collar and groin areas.” Officers are taught that perpetrators have been known to tape knives or guns to the base of their necks or place weapons inside their underwear. The training does not draw a distinction between male and female suspects, Police Inspector Kim Royster said. “Yes, it's intrusive, but wherever a weapon can be concealed is where the officer is going to search,” Royster said.