Race and Policing
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This fact sheet provides data on the effect of "stop-and-frisk" on crime in New York City, updating an earlier Brennan Center analysis. Stop-and-frisk was a police practice under which officers stopped and searched citizens, allegedly without the reasonable suspicion required for these interventions. Concerns about the program first arose under Mayor Rudy Giuliani, during William J. Bratton's first tenure as police commissioner. After growing slowly in the early 2000s, stop-and-frisk began to rapidly increase in 2006, when there were 500,000 stops citywide. By 2011 the number peaked at 685,000. It then began to fall, first to 533,000 stops in 2012. Stop-and-frisk became a central issue in the 2013 city mayoral race because of a concern that the program unconstitutionally targeted communities of color. The program's supporters disputed this, insisting that stop-and-frisk was essential for fighting crime in such a huge city. In August 2013, federal district court judge Shira Scheindlin found that stop-and-frisk was unconstitutional. The stop-and-frisk era formally drew to a close in January 2014, when newly-elected Mayor Bill de Blasio settled the litigation and ended the program. Given this large-scale effort, one might expect crime generally, and murder specifically, to increase as stops tapered off between 2012 and 2014. Instead, as shown below, the murder rate fell while the number of stops declined. In fact, the biggest fall occurred precisely when the number of stops also fell by a large amount — in 2013.
People of color are overrepresented in our criminal justice system. One in three African American men born today will be incarcerated in his lifetime. In some cities, African Americans are ten times more likely to be arrested when stopped by police. With the national debate national focused on race, crime, and punishment, criminal justice experts are examining how to reduce racial disparities in our prisons and jails, which often serve as initial entry points for those who become entangled in the criminal justice system.This report, which relies on input from 25 criminal justice leaders, pinpoints the drivers of racial disparities in our jails, lays out common sense reforms to reduce this disparity, including increasing public defense representation for misdemeanor offenses, encouraging prosecutors to prioritize serious and violent offenses, limiting the use of pretrial detention, and requiring training to reduce racial bias for all those involved in running our justice system.