In New York City, city lawyers report a sharp decrease in the number of stop-and-frisk encounters in the second quarter of 2013, according to the New York Times. The numbers are the lowest they have been since Mayor Michael Bloomberg started implementing the program 11 years ago.
From April through June, police officers conducted 58,088 involuntary stops. That was a steep decline from the 99,788 stops performed during the first quarter of 2013. And it was well below the 203,500 stops the police conducted in the first quarter of 2012, a high-water mark for the number of stops since Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg took office in 2002.
On Aug. 12, Judge Shira A. Scheindlin ruled that stop and frisk was unconstititutional in federal court on the grounds that the New York City Police Department routinely singled out blacks and Hispanics. City lawyers are currently appealing the ruling and are using the numbers from April to June as proof that the police have policed themselves when it comes to the controversial procedure. Stop and frisk allows police officers to stop, question and search an individual they believe has committed a crime, even without probable cause.
City lawyers cited the new stop numbers in a letter they sent on Tuesday to a federal judge who ruled earlier this month that the Police Department had over the last decade expanded its use of stop-and-frisk tactics in ways that the Constitution did not permit. They requested that the judge, Shira A. Scheindlin, delay ordering any changes until the city’s appeal was heard.
The rapid decline in stops suggests that the Police Department is de-emphasizing the confrontational policing tactics that Mr. Bloomberg continues to defend as necessary to maintain the impressive drop in violent crime that occurred during his tenure. This year is expected to be the safest year on record in recent history, in terms of the number of murders.
Read more at the New York Times.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.