The New York City Police Department’s aggressive stop-and-frisk program exploded into a national controversy during the mayoral administration of Michael Bloomberg, as the number of NYPD stops each year grew to hundreds of thousands. Most of the people stopped were black and Latino, and nearly all were innocent. Stop-and-frisk peaked in 2011, when NYPD officers reported making nearly 700,000 stops.
NYPD stops have plummeted after national outrage about the dramatic rise of the use of stop-and-frisk, litigation by the NYCLU and other organizations, and community organizing. Since Mayor de Blasio came into office in January 2014, the NYPD now reports about 10,000 stops per year. As stops have receded, crime in New York City has dropped significantly. In 2018, New York City recorded the lowest number of homicides in nearly 70 years.
Despite the drastic decline of reported stops since 2011, our analysis in Stop and Frisk in the de Blasio Era finds that when it comes to who the NYPD stops, frisks, and uses force on, racial disparities remain stark.
Between 2014 and 2017, young black and Latino males between the ages of 14 and 24 account for only five percent of the city’s population, compared with 38 percent of reported stops. Young black and Latino males were innocent 80 percent of the time.
Though frisks are to be conducted only when an officer reasonably suspects the person has a weapon that poses threat to the officer’s safety, 66 percent of reported stops led to frisks, of which over 93 percent resulted in no weapon being found.
Black and Latino people were more likely to be frisked than whites and, among those frisked, were less likely to be found with a weapon.
The NYPD used force on over 21,000 black and Latino people and over 2,200 white people. Even among those stopped, black and Latino people were more likely to have force used against them than white people.
For more information on stop-and-frisk practices, including more detailed data by quarter and resources explaining your rights when stopped by the police, please visit our stop-and-frisk campaign page.