What Does Stop-And-Frisk Accomplish?

Stop And Frisk

TNC is unimpressed by its track record:

I am not totally opposed to policies in which individuals surrender some of their rights for the betterment of the whole. The entire State is premised on such a surrendering. But at every stop that surrendering should be questioned and interrogated, to see if it actually will produce the benefits which it claims. In the case of Stop and Frisk you have a policy bearing no evidence of decreasing violence, and bearing great evidence of increasing tension between the police and the community they claim to serve. It is a policy which regularly results in the usage of physical force, but rarely results in the actual recovery of guns.

Sullum adds that “debate about the effectiveness of New York’s stop-and-frisk program is interesting, but it should not be dispositive”:

For that matter, the demograpic profile of the people who are usually hassled by the cops, while it certainly should bother anyone who claims to be concerned about racial profiling or the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection, is not the most decisive argument against stop and frisk, which is the Fourth Amendment. As Mike Riggs noted yesterday, [NYPD Commissioner Ray] Kelly seems to think everyone detained by the cops must be guilty of something. “The notion anyone stopped has done absolutely nothing wrong is not really the case,” he said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, because police “need reasonable suspicion to stop someone and question them.” Kelly not only confuses reasonable suspicion with guilt beyond a reasonable doubt; he assumes his cops really do have a sound legal basis for every stop they make and every pat-down they perform. That assumption is hard to credit, given that stops result in an arrest or summons only 12 percent of the time and pat-downs almost never discover guns. If the stop-and-frisk program is unconstitutional, as it appears to be, its putative effectiveness does not make it less so.

(Chart from a 2010 report (pdf) by the Center On Race, Crime And Justice)