The NYPD's use of stop and frisk dropped by 80% in the last three months of this summer compared with the same data last year. According to the AP, there were 106,000 stops for July, August, and September of 2012. This year, there were 21,000 stops over the same time period.
"Ultimately, police officers make their decisions based on real-time observations from the field—and those stops are based on reasonable suspicion," NYPD spokesman John McCarthy told the outlet in a routine statement, stressing that there is no "predetermined or correct number of stops."
While stops have decreased, so has violent crime. According to a release from the Mayor's Office, as of Sunday, there have been 79 fewer murders in 2013 than there were in 2012, and 263 fewer shootings, decreases of 21% and 19%, respectively.
At the heart of federal Judge Shira Scheindlin's much-debated stop and frisk ruling this summer was the question, Is the NYPD using reasonable suspicion to make stops, or racial shorthand? Are that many black and brown New Yorkers truly acting in a suspicious manner, given that 88% of the 5 million people stopped during the Bloomberg administration were deemed innocent and released?
Judge Scheindlin found that the NYPD's argument, that crime suspects were often black or Hispanic so therefore the number of stops should reflect these statistics, was faulty.
Here Judge Scheindlin explains her thinking to a City attorney:
What you're drawing from the regression analysis is if they match well that proves there's no race bias. I'm saying it may be precisely the opposite. The closer the match may prove that the officer is saying that since Blacks commit crimes, I should stop Blacks to the same percentage as crime suspects. It's a worrisome argument.
Perhaps the NYPD realized this, or perhaps reasonable suspicion in New York City also declined by 80% from July through September 2013, or perhaps it's a bit of both.
The AP report (like the Post did yesterday) notes that the number of firearms confiscated from stops is also down, from 198 to 99.
It's worth noting that stop and frisks were never effective at finding guns: only 0.1% of stops produced a firearm. A single gun seizure this August yielded 254 weapons, which represents nearly a third of the 780 guns found by stopping 533,042 New Yorkers in all of 2012.