Failed police tactics in New York City; from broken windows to stop-and-frisk

Check out this opinion editorial in the Boston Globe by Juliette Kayyem: Numbers Matter in Public Safety Reform. Kayyem questions the effectiveness of the New York’s stop-and-frisk tactics. Data from the NYPD shows that of the vast numbers of people stopped-and-frisked by police officers, 9 out of 10 were black or Hispanic. This is racial profiling, and it does not reduce crime. In fact, the New York American Civil Liberties Union (NYACLU) reports that nearly 9 out of 10 New Yorkers who were stopped and frisked were completely innocent.

Kayemm’s article compares the stop-and-frisk tactic to the police tactic favored in the 1990’s: aggressively policing minor crimes such as breaking windows, in the hopes that there would be a consequential decline in serious crimes. The “broken windows” tactic was, for a time, credited with the significant reduction in crime in New York City. However, as Kayemm explains, the reduction in crime was seen across the country, not just in New York City, and data shows that the “broken windows” tactic was not actually effective.

Likewise, NYPD data now shows that the stop-and-frisk tactic is not only ineffective, but in practice embraces racial profiling. As the NYACLU summarizes, the vast majority of stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers are non-white, even in primarily white neighborhoods. While violent crime has decreased in New York City, other cities without an intrusive stop-and-frisk policy experienced even larger reductions in crime. You can help learn more about the NYPD’s discriminatory practice on the NYACLU website. People in New York can use the stop-and-frisk app to record and report stop-and-frisks.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend