The long article in today's Times about the NYPD's stop and frisk tactic is a great read, because it homes in on one eight block area of Brownsville, Brooklyn, where "a small army" of mostly rookie cops made nearly 52,000 stops in the past four years. The majority of the stop and frisks were justified by the suspect's "furtive movement," or "other." The arrest rate in the area is less than one percent; last year cops made 13,200 stops but arrested only 109 people. Since 2005, just 25 guns have been recovered from the 52,000 stops. And the names of all the individuals stopped go into a growing database that civil liberties groups are suing to shut down.
But the NYPD insists the sky rocketing number of stop and frisks has had "a significant impact" on reducing crime (which is up citywide, but down in almost every category in these Brownsville projects). Critics say correlation is not causation, and say the constant stops have only widened the rift between police and the community. One high school football coach started letting his players leave with their helmets so cops wouldn't assume they were gang members. Some locals say the rookie cops flooding the streets are more interested in small offenses than engaging with residents. When asked how many times he's been stopped in the neighborhood where he grew up, 26-year-old legal assistant Jonathan Guity, who has no criminal record, replied, "Honestly, I’d say 30 to 40 times. I’m serious."