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NYPD stops of New Yorkers climbed in first six months of 2019 — but still down sharply from years past

2019-09-06

In this file photo, people walk by a New York City police officer in Times Square. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Police are stopping, questioning and frisking more New Yorkers suspected of criminal activity, new data from the New York Civil Liberties Union shows.

Some 7,101 people were stopped by police in the first six months of 2019, the data shows. That’s a 40% increase from the 5,064 people stopped in the first half of 2018.

Stops have increased steadily since late 2018, the data shows. From October to December of 2018, cops stopped 2,515 people. That number grew to 3,175 stops from January to March 2019, and to 3,926 stops from April to June 2019.

The racial makeup of those stopped has been steady, the NYCLU says — about 60% are black, and 30% are Latino. “This means that the overall number of people of color who were stopped has increased, but the proportion of people of color stopped has not changed since last year,” the Civil Liberties Union reported.

In January, Peter Zimroth, the federal monitor who oversees the NYPD stop-and-frisk practices, expressed concern that stops were drastically under-reported because officers did not properly document them.

“The big question is how much the stops have gone up versus how much the reporting of stops has improved,” said Christopher Dunn, Legal Director of the NYCLU.

If the actual number of stops is up, “that would be worrisome,” said Dunn. But if the numbers are just a reflection of better NYPD reporting, "that would be an improvement,” he said.

In any case, it’s clear that stop-question-and-frisks have declined greatly in the last seven years.

Police say the number of stops peaked at 688,000 in 2011, and dropped to about 12,000 in 2018.

“This reflects the deliberate shift in NYPD strategic focus over the past several years to precise, surgical targeting of crime and criminals,” said police spokesperson Sgt. Jessica McRorie. “The result is lower crime, fewer stops, and fewer arrests and summonses.”