Street stops by New York City police officers have plunged since 2011, and a statistical analysis by a federal monitor concludes that the racial disparity in stops is narrowing, the New York Times reports. The analysis examined stops from 2013 to 2015 after criticism of the high rates of stops in black and Hispanic neighborhoods had led to the start of a drastic decline in them. Even as the racial disparity narrowed, Hispanics remained more likely to be searched and arrested after such encounters and blacks were less likely than whites to be found carrying a gun after the police frisked them, the analysis showed. That lower “hit rate” leaves questions about the degree of suspicion officers use in minority neighborhoods.
It was the first report analyzing trends in so-called stop-and-frisk tactics and the fifth filed by monitor Peter Zimroth to Judge Analisa Torres since a 2013 decision that found the department’s tactics unconstitutional. The report shows stops declined in three years to 22,563 in 2015 from 191,851 in 2013, a period in which violent crime in New York continued its decline. Over those same years, the share of stops in which officers detained people to frisk them increased, as did the share in which officers used force, made arrests and seized guns and contraband, like drugs. As overall stops declined and fewer people were affected, officers stopped fewer innocent people. Before stopping someone, officers must suspect a crime has occurred, or is about to. The data showed a greater share of stops came after officers reasonably suspected a serious crime, such as murder or weapons possession.