Don’t Stop Frisking

Protesters in New York City who want to end Stop and Frisk because they think it is racial profiling.

Protesters in New York City who want to end Stop and Frisk because they think it is racial profiling.

Last week in class, we discussed the controversial “Stop and Frisk” policy that is currently being practiced in New York City. An overwhelming majority of the class strongly opposed the policy. With no legitimate information presented to me, I skeptically disapproved of the intrusive policy. Because of this, I deemed it necessary to do my own research before further forming an opinion.

This policy became a topic of discussion because of the New York mayoral race. All of the candidates are being pressured to stop the practice, but Bill de Blasio has made a name for himself stating that he is “the only candidate to end Stop-and-Frisk targeting of minorities”. In early August, de Blasio was a potential but unlikely democrat to win the primaries. Surprisingly, he was not favored among minorities. I think the emphasis on “Stop and Frisk” is entirely exaggerated in order to gain minority voters.

The policy has been obscured from one enacted to ameliorate the crime issue to one enacted to unjustly target minorities. “The NYPD’s stop-and-frisk practices raise serious concerns over racial profiling, illegal stops and privacy rights” states the New York Civil Liberties Union, a progressive group working to end racial discrimination. The NYCLU’s view on Stop and Frisk are simply looking at half of the facts. The following table shows crime statistics for the city:


The furthest right hand column shows that between 1990 and 2012, the total crime rate has dropped 78.87%. (Click table to enlarge.) In 1994, Rudolph Giuliani inherited a city too dangerous to manage. Various factors contributed to the drop in crime rate, but Stop and Frisk positively contributed to the decline. The NYCLU also determined that “Nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers have been completely innocent, according to the NYPD’s own reports” (they rounded up). Assuming this is true, I do admit that it is inconvenient for the 90% of innocent people who were stopped by police. However, that means that about 10% (more than 10% because the NYCLU grossly rounded that fact up) of these people were criminals – intending to somehow break the law.

Now, to address the racism issue: the following text will, most likely, not be “politically correct”. I am going to state the truth and the reader can choose whether to be offended or not, although there is no reason to be offended by statistics.

In de Blasio’s second ad, he tells how he has already talked to his son about WHEN he will be stopped and frisked. Why does de Blasio make such an absolute statement? Simply because his son is black, and de Blasio is campaigning off the idea that racism is the leading factor to why so many minorities are stopped. The reason police target minorities is because minorities account for a large majority of crime rates.

Clearly minorities represent the majority of convicts, but a question remains: is the reason for them being the majority because of racial discrimination? Admittedly that may account for a slightly higher rate, but to say that it completely is due to discrimination is simply illogical. If the statistics were closer together, this would be more probable, but with statistics such as 1:15 black men going to jail sometime in their lives when only 1:106 white men, there is no possibility that this huge difference is solely due to racism.

Leading back to Stop and Frisk, I am in no way suggesting that police should discriminate when deciding who to stop, but the statistics show that there is a higher probability of a black man breaking the law than a white man. The policy was enacted to lower crime rates, not offend minorities. The dangerous city of New York has lowered its crime rates 78.87% – that is huge! I cannot say that specifically the Stop and Frisk policy lowered the rates, but more than 10% of the stopped were breaking the law, so it does account for some of the crime decrease. I think our society is too concerned with being “politically correct” and therefore refuses to look at the facts.


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