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NYPD Stops are Skyrocketing Under Mayor Adams

The increase is just one element of the mayor’s dangerous bet on Broken Windows policing.

The back of Eric Adams facing NYPD officers
Michael Appleton / Mayoral Photography Office
By: Simon McCormack Senior Writer, Communications & Melissa Avilez Lopez Data and Research Strategist, Legal Department

The NYPD recorded more stops of New Yorkers in 2023 than it has in nearly a decade, and 89 percent of those who were stopped are Black and Latinx.

There were 16,971 recorded stops by NYPD officers last year. That is the highest number of reported stops since 2015, and a dramatic increase from just two years earlier, when officers recorded 8,947 stops in 2021. Nearly 70 percent of those stopped were innocent.

For many years, the vast majority of people stopped by the NYPD were people of color, but that already large percentage has increased recently. In 2023, white people made up just six percent of the recorded stops, while in previous years they made up nine to ten percent. Since 2015, the percentage of people of color stopped increased, on average. Black New Yorkers make up 20 percent of the city’s population, but they represented 60 percent of the recorded stops in 2023.

It’s undeniable that we are heading in the wrong direction with very little to show for it other than more police abuse.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams has touted increased stop activity as a key ingredient to driving down crime, but that argument has been thoroughly disproven. As recorded stops fell 93 percent between 2011 and 2014, murders and shootings plummeted, and other serious crimes dropped significantly as well.

While there’s no evidence to suggest that stopping thousands more people creates safer streets, there is reason to believe that increased stop activity leads to more police misconduct. Complaints of NYPD officer abuse have skyrocketed under Adams as stops have spiked.

More stops by the NYPD are just part of the Adams Administration’s effort to double down on Broken Windows policing. Broken Windows is a theory of law enforcement that prioritizes cracking down on low-level offenses and encourages lots of police contact with civilians.

In that vein, Adams has presided over a vast increase in the number of people arrested for minor infractions. The mayor has also ramped up arrests for fare beating at MTA subway stations. These arrests are part of the reason the NYPD spent $150 million in taxpayer money paying officers overtime for policing the subways in 2023. That’s tens of millions of dollars that could have gone to things like affordable housing, mental health care treatment, or subway improvements.

Arrests for low-level offenses can carry a host of consequences. People can lose their jobs, their homes, and ties to their families even from short stints in jail. The collateral consequences of convictions, even for minor offenses, can also be severe. They can make it harder for people to get a job, obtain housing, or pay for higher education.

We are a long way from the bad old days in which hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers were stopped every year by the NYPD. But it’s undeniable that we are heading in the wrong direction with very little to show for it other than more police abuse.

More from the NYPD’s 2023 stop numbers:

  • During the first two years of the Adams administration, a larger portion of people were searched and frisked once they were stopped (76 percent) than during the Bloomberg admin (52 percent) and de Blasio admin (69 percent).

  • A large portion of the stops in 2023 were in two precincts in the Bronx (46th precinct and the 48th precinct). Over 15 percent of all stops were conducted in these two precincts.

  • 15 percent of those stopped were between 15 and 17 years old.
  • The percentage of innocent people stopped has climbed as the overall number of recorded stops has also increased since 2021.
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