Stop-and-frisk: Only 3 percent leads to convictions, NY's AG says

State attorney general releases analysis of NYC's controversial policy, questioning the efficacy of the program

Stop-and-frisk has been vigorously applied and defended by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
2013 Getty Images

Just 3 percent of stops by the New York Police Department as part of its controversial stop-and-frisk policy resulted in convictions, with less than 1 percent leading to violent crime pleas or guilty verdicts, according to an analysis of the program by New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman's office analyzed nearly 150,000 arrests from about 2.4 million street stops from 2009 to 2012. Beyond the above rates, it also found that only about half of the arrests after stops resulted in convictions or guilty pleas; the other half were never prosecuted or led to cases that were dismissed.

NYPD spokesman John McCarthy said the attorney general's report was flawed. He said the analysis ignores situations where an officer's action prevents crime; in those cases there would be no arrest.

McCarthy said police are allowed to stop someone if an officer believes the person has committed a crime or is about to.

He also noted that the report made no recommendations.

Stop-and-frisk has been around for decades, but its use grew dramatically under Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration to an all-time high in 2011 of 684,330 stops, mostly of black and Hispanic men.

To make a stop, police must have reasonable suspicion that a crime is about to occur or has occurred, a standard lower than the probable cause needed to justify an arrest. Only about 10 percent of the stops result in arrests or summonses, and weapons are found about 2 percent of the time.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio made overturning the policy a centerpiece of his mayoral campaign.

"Bill de Blasio has made it abundantly clear that on day one as mayor he will work to end the overuse and misuse of stop and frisk," said Eric Koch, a spokesman for the Democratic candidate, in a statement just before the election. "The stop-and-frisk-era has eroded the trust and relationship between communities and police officers, making it harder for cops to do their jobs and keep neighborhoods safe."

The Associated Press

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