One of the wildest abuses against human rights to occur in America in recent years has been the advent of the NYPD’s “Stop-And-Frisk” policy. Under this policy, New York City’s police have been given the power to stop anyone and search them for “suspicious” activity, such as carrying a weapon, dealing drugs or “other,” which can be anything under the sun. This policy is touted as a preventative measure, meant to deter potential crimes from happening. However, folks on the streets of NY can tell you that it’s mostly young Black men who are stopped (really, harassed) by police.
Hopefully, “Stop-And-Frisk” will be taken off the books, never to be practiced by any police department again, after being ruled unconstitutional by a district judge. According to VICE, incidents of Stop-And-Frisk have declined rapidly from its peak year in 2011, when 685,724 stops were recorded. In the meantime, NYPD officers will be required to present each un-arrested person they stop and frisk with a ticket explaining why that person was detained.
“Stop-And-Frisk” is the result of “broken windows” policing. VICE describes:
That’s the theory that says going after minor quality-of-life offenses like graffiti, subway panhandling, and illegal cigarette sales helps discourage serious crimes like rape and murder. It’s the brainchild of criminologist George Kelling, who co-authored a 1982 Atlantic article that remains a sort of manual for modern policing in America. Broken windows was popularized by William Bratton, the NYPD commissioner in the 90s under Mayor Rudy Giuliani who has taken up his old post under the new mayor, Bill de Blasio. The mythology holds that it was the chief factor in the city’s incredible turnaround since the high-crime 70s and 80s—though many criminologists disagree.
As mentioned before, the days of Stop-And-Frisk may be waning due to the court ruling, but it’s still here and folks walking through the streets of NYC need to be aware, and act accordingly. “It will be very easy to track the use of stop, questions, and frisks in the future—zero,” said former NYPD detective sergeant and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Joseph Giacalone. “The cops have taken it upon themselves to abandon the practice.”