No Consensus on Link of Stop-and-Frisk to Crime Decline

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In an elliptical answer to a question on racial tensions during Monday night’s presidential debate, Republican Donald Trump praised the utility of “stop-and-frisk” policing programs in protecting what he described as inner cities “decimated” by crime. “In a place like Chicago, where thousands of people have been killed, thousands over the last number of years…We have to bring back law and order,” Trump told 84 million viewers. “Now, whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop and frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down. But you take the gun away from criminals that shouldn’t be having it.”

In fact, no consensus exists among criminologists as to whether the New York Police Department’s Stop, Question and Frisk (SQF) program, or others like it in other major cities, was the reason why crime rates fell precipitously throughout the 1990s and 2000s, says the Christian Science Monitor. A federal judge ruled the program unconstitutional in 2013 as a form of “indirect racial profiling.” The origins of New York’s program underscore the importance of social science in devising newer, better solutions to problems of crime and policing, as well as the utility of pressure from the public and civil-liberties advocates who demand fixes to situations that seem mired in paradox. As Yale University law Prof. Tracey Meares wrote in the Chicago Law Review, federal judge Shira Scheindlin’s ruling did not deem stop-and-frisk unconstitutional as a tactic. Rather, it took issue with New York’s use of it a massive scale: 685,724 stops were carried out in 2011, the program’s peak. “The tactic itself is not unconstitutional,” says Meares. “The program that the NYPD used resulted in far too many unconstitutional stops.”


One thought on “No Consensus on Link of Stop-and-Frisk to Crime Decline

  1. Pingback: No Consensus on Link of Stop-and-Frisk to Crime Decline | Darlington Jordan Law Firm

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