The number of stop-and-frisk reports filed by New York City police fell 51 percent in the first three months of this year compared with the same period last year, the Wall Street Journal reports. The decline comes as the crime-fighting tactic undergoes a high-profile challenge in federal court and emerges as a central issue in this year’s race to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The reduced stops in the first quarter of 2013 resulted in a 43 percent decline in weapons recovered compared with the same period in 2012.
Overall crime is also down 2.7 percent this year through April 28 with murders leading the way with a 30 percent decline compared with the same period last year. Stop-and-frisk has been criticized because since 2002, more than 85 percent of those stopped were either black or Latino, and nearly 90 percent of those stopped were released without being charged. Donna Lieberman of the New York Civil Liberties Union called the new data “encouraging” and said they challenged the Bloomberg administration’s assertion that wide-ranging use of the practice helps reduce crime.