Report: NYPD Stop-and-Frisk Activity in 2013 (2014)
The year 2013 was a dramatic one for the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program.
As the public controversy over stop-and-frisk became a central issue in the campaign to succeed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, street interrogations fell precipitously during the year to 191,558 recorded stops – the lowest since 2004. And the last quarter of 2013 had fewer than 13,000 stops, putting the city on pace for 50,000 annual stops.
Meanwhile, in separate rulings in January and August, a federal court found that the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program amounted to “indirect racial profiling” and that officers were taught to “stop and question first, develop reasonable suspicion later” in violation of the United States Constitution. The court outlined a range of remedies and appointed a monitor to oversee the reform process. As the monitor was proceeding with this work, the Bloomberg administration continued through its last days to defend its stop-and-frisk program, obtaining an emergency stay from a panel of the federal Court of Appeals, which also ordered the removal of the District Court judge.
As the legal drama played out, New York City voters in November overwhelmingly elected Bill de Blasio mayor. De Blasio made stop-and-frisk reform a central issue in his campaign, and shortly after his election he moved aggressively to honor his campaign promises. In January 2014, he agreed to settle the two stop-and-frisk lawsuits (one brought by the NYCLU) and to end the city’s appeal of the earlier court orders.
With stop-and-frisk under intense scrutiny in 2013, defenders of the program repeatedly claimed that reducing stops would threaten public safety, focusing in particular on gun violence. As it turned out, however, the steep drop in stops during 2013 came with a significant drop in shootings and murders. This was not an aberration. The same trend emerged in the 2012 data: Stops, shootings and murders all dropped.
Given all of these developments and that 2013 likely marks the beginning of the end of the NYPD’s abusive stop-and-frisk program, a close examination of the data is important. As with similar NYCLU reports, this report discloses detailed information about all aspects of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program, including detailed breakdowns by precinct.