WNYC took it upon themselves to map all of the street stops – a.k.a. stop and frisks – using information from the police department showcasing where guns were recovered last year, since firearm control has been the primary justification for the controversial tactic. The map reveals that, in Sheepshead Bay, the NYPD has turned up no firearms in the areas in which NYPD has concentrated its use of stop-and-frisk tactics.
In Sheepshead Bay, police made 1,324 stops in the Sheepshead Bay-Nostrand Housing projects. Yet only two guns were found in the 61st Precinct’s command, and neither were in the vicinity of the projects.
Two guns were found, however; one at the Log Cabin at 2123 Avenue Z, and the other during a random sidewalk stop near the Kings Bay fields, at Voorhies Avenue and Bragg Street.
Public Advocate and mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has been saying that stop-and-frisk needs reform because it fosters a distrust between citizens and police officials. Others note that it is a major waste of public resources.
Those sentiments have been echoed by Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, also a mayoral candidate. Stringer points out that the city is on track to stop and frisk more than 700,000 people this year, of which 85 percent are black and Latino males. Yet only seven percent of stops lead to an arrest, and less than one percent for gun-related charges.
Further, legal advocacy groups like the New York Civil Liberties Union deem stop-and-frisk as “racial profiling.”
An NYCLU analysis revealed that New Yorkers (mostly black or Latino) have been subjected to police stops and street interrogations more than 4 million times since 2002, and that nearly nine out of 10 stopped-and-frisked New Yorkers were innocent.
Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Mayor Michael Bloomberg say that stop-and-frisk is meant to get illegal guns out of the streets and criminals behind bars.
“You hear all the time from people who don’t like stop-and-frisk. But you know what people really hate in New York City, and always have? Guns,” said Kelly.
Current data shows that out of 685,000 stops in 2011, about 770 guns were recovered. This means that only one tenth of one percent of all stops resulted in cops finding a gun.
Supporters of the stop-and-frisk procedures say that the police concentrate their hubs of activity where violent crimes are most often reported, and that it is crime, not gun recoveries, which determine where police officers go. Also, because police saturate certain areas, this becomes a deterrent for carrying a firearm.
Similar results to those found at the Sheepshead-Nostrand Houses were also found at the Marlboro Houses, as well as areas citywide in which the city focuses its stop-and-frisk efforts.
What do you think? Are current stop-and-frisk tactics effective?