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Stop-and-Frisks Haven't Reduced Shootings, Mayor Bloomberg Admits

By Jill Colvin | June 5, 2012 3:53pm
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly defended the NYPD's surveillance program.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg has repeatedly defended the NYPD's surveillance program.
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Spencer Platt/Getty Images

CITY HALL — Mayor Michael Bloomberg admitted Tuesday that the skyrocketing number of NYPD stop-and-frisks has had little impact on the number of people shot in New York City.

As DNAinfo.com New York's "On the Inside" reported, while the number of stop-and-frisks has grown exponentially in recent years, with 685,724 people stopped in 2011 compared to 97,296 in 2002, the number of people who were victims of gunfire has remained virtually the same since Bloomberg’s first year in office.

"I know that," Bloomberg told reporters at an unrelated press conference when asked about the findings.

"I mean, it’s worrisome. And Ray Kelly is working on it," he said. "There are still too many guns."

Bloomberg and Kelly have repeatedly pointed to the city’s falling murder rate as evidence that the controversial policy is working, despite mounting criticism.

While the number of Stop-and-frisks has increased dramatically, the number of shootings has stayed the same.
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DNAinfo/Michael Miguez

The fact that the number of people being shot in the city remains virtually unchanged undercuts that argument, suggesting that something else — such as advancements in medicine — is actually responsible for the decline in murders.

Nonetheless, Bloomberg defended the policy as the best available way to get guns off the streets.

"This is not a panacea for everything. But what is clear is that the number of murders have come down dramatically and this is one of the techniques that Ray uses," he said.

"As he said, if you have other suggestions on how to get guns out of the hands of kids, we'd love to hear it," Bloomberg added. "If they're practical, we would like to adopt that."

While the NYPD was stopping and frisking a record 685,724 people last year, 1,821 people were victims of gunfire, according to NYPD and city statistics. That's virtually the same number as in 2002, Bloomberg's first year in office, when 1,892 people were shot, but just 97,296 people were frisked, DNAinfo.com New York found.

Between 2009 and 2011, the number of people shot in the city climbed from 1,727 to 1,821 even as the NYPD was ratcheting up the number of people it rousted from 510,742 in 2009 to the record 685,724, the statistics show.

A similar pattern of rising shootings and escalating stop-and-frisks occurred from 2004 through 2006. During those years, the NYPD stop-and-frisks jumped 70 percent, from 313,523 to 506,491, but the number of shooting victims rose about 7 percent, from 1,777 to 1,880.