Review to Probe Uptick in Violence After Stop-and-Frisk Cutback
The New York Police Department is analyzing years of data to determine if the decline in the number of stop, question and frisks is having an impact on crime in the city, Commissioner William Bratton said Wednesday
The study comes as overall crime continues to decrease, but as the department grapples with an uptick this year in violence, particularly shootings, in certain neighborhoods.
"We have a very comprehensive analysis under way right now," Mr. Bratton said after an unrelated event at police headquarters. "At this juncture, we really don't know. Once that study is completed over the next several weeks, we'll have a better idea of that."
Mr. Bratton has said in the past that he doesn't believe there is any correlation between the decreasing number of stops and shooting increases, but ordered the study anyway.
A law-enforcement official said the commissioner ordered the study earlier this week during a weekly meeting with NYPD three-star chiefs and top officials to discuss crime numbers.
The NYPD is laying out its annual plan to deal with summer crime. Precincts that have been plagued by gun violence will be flooded with new recruits who graduate on Monday.
The official, who has direct knowledge of the meeting, said Mr. Bratton was concerned about the recent uptick in shootings and went around the room asking for solutions.
Unsatisfied with the answers, he ordered a study that looks at noticeable trends contributing to the uptick and if there is any correlation to the drop in 250 reports—the form officers fill out after conducting a stop.
Some criminologists welcomed comprehensive analysis.
With the decreasing number of stops, "one should expect some increase in crime numbers," said Richard Rosenthal, a criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, who published a 2014 study that said it was difficult to determine the relationship between stops and crime.
"Crime has not shot up" citywide, he added, "so that suggests to me that the relationship between crime and stop-and-frisk may be pretty weak."
The stops are a controversial tactic that Mayor Bill de Blasio has promised to change.
A federal court judge found that the NYPD was unconstitutionally using tactic to target minorities, particularly African-American and Hispanic men. The court installed a monitor to oversee changes and the decision is pending approval.
The tactic's use peaked at more than 686,000 stops citywide in 2011 under former Commissioner Raymond Kelly, before it began significantly decreasing in the years after.
According to most recently available quarterly reports, police officers conducted 14,261 stops from Jan. 1 to March 31 of this year, compared with 99,788 for the same period in 2013, according to the NYPD.
"Twenty years of crime data make it clear that stop-and-frisk is not the key to making our city safer," said Christopher Dunn, the New York Civil Liberties Union associate legal director.
According crime numbers compiled through Sunday, the NYPD has received 48,754 reports for major crimes across the city—a 2.5% decrease from the same period last year. The number of shooting incidents has increased 11%.
A particular cause for concern is the increase in shootings in recent weeks, police officials said.
In the past 28 days through Sunday, shooting incidents increased to 114 from 98, a 16% increase from the same period last year.