Stop-and-Frisk Numbers Continue to Plunge

By Murray Weiss on August 15, 2014 7:36am 

 Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent press conference. Shootings in New York have spiked 12 percent since de Blasio took office.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio at a recent press conference. Shootings in New York have spiked 12 percent since de Blasio took office.
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DNAinfo/Ben Fractenberg

NEW YORK CITY — The NYPD made 13,400 stop-and-frisks in the second quarter of the year, DNAinfo New York has learned.

That’s a whopping decline of about 44,688 stop-and-frisks from the same three-month period last year — and is another 7 percent drop from the first three months of this year, when 14,261 stops were recorded.

The quarterly figures — provided by sources to “On The Inside” — come at a time when the number of shootings in the city has spiked by 12 percent compared to last year.

And the statistics are guaranteed to further fuel the debate about any connection between the decline in stop-and-frisks and the increase in gun violence this year since Mayor Bill de Blasio took office.

Based on the numbers for the first half of 2014, the year-end total for stops could fall below 55,000 for the year.

Stop-and-Frisk totals, 2002-present. 2014 Figures are estimated. Hover over the graphic to see the numbers.

During the Mayor Michael Bloomberg/Police Commissioner Ray Kelly-era, the number of stop-and-frisk swelled by 600 percent, topping out at a record 685,724 in 2011.

READ MORE STOP-AND-FRISK COVERAGE ON DNAINFO:

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Stop-and-frisks have done little to prevent shootings

Since 2011, the numbers of stops initially declined to 532,911 in 2012, but then tumbled to 191,558 in 2013 after federal courts threatened to install a monitor over the NYPD and the City Council voted to create the unprecedented NYPD Inspector General to examine its policies and practices.

The year before Bloomberg took office in 2002, there were 97,296 stops in the Big Apple.

“We believe that right now the number of stops is probably the appropriate number, especially considering how low overall crime is and how safe the city is,” a law enforcement source said.

The source explained that the Bill Bratton administration believes the bulk of stops in New York in recent years were overdone and fundamentally “unnecessary.”  He said police officers were being driven to make them — or even falsely report them -- because of a heavy-handed crime-fighting philosophy that relied on “getting numbers."

“There was simply too much and too much emphasis on using stop-and-frisks as an enforcement indicator,” he said. “It is not a crime-footing tool.”

“It is a matter of case law and it is to be used when needed, legally,” he said. “When you see something, you use it against people carrying weapons, or believed to be carrying, to protect the public.”

On the Inside” reported previously that the number of shootings in New York remained virtually constant during the Bloomberg era, even as the number of stop-and-frisks skyrocketed.  Overall crime, however, fell by a third during his 12 years atop City Hall.

Last year, shootings fell to a modern-era low of 1,103, which may explain why there had to be an inevitable spike, insiders say. Serious crime, however, is also down so far this year by slightly more than three percent.

For his part, Bratton has recently ordered a study to determine if there is a link between the rise in shootings and the plunge in stop-and-frisks. But he has said he does not think there will be one.

Sources say the Bratton team is focusing instead on chasing criminals who are specifically behind the shootings in New York, primarily gangs and their crews and drug dealers.

“You need to put these people in jail,” a source added. “And address them by the crime they commit.”

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