NEW YORK, CMC – As the New York Police Department (NYDP), over the years, faced intense criticism over the controversial “stop-and-frisks” policy regarding Caribbean and other immigrants and minorities, the department has reported what it described as a “major decline” in the use of the tactic.
In its latest report of data for 2012, the NYPD said cops used the controversial tactic 22 percent less and seized 14 percent fewer weapons than in the previous year.
Paul Browne, the NYPD spokesman, said the drop in “stop-and-frisks reflects a fall in staffing in high-crime areas, also called “impact zones.”
“Stops declined after increased training and a decline in impact staffing, but ultimately the number reflects suspicious behavior observed by police officers,there was a period after the first quarter where staffing of impact posts, which had been doubled, was lowered to address demand for staffing of regular precinct assignments,” he added.
According to the NYPD date, cops made 685,724 stops in 2011, compared with 533,042 last year.
The figures also reveal that stop-and-frisks took 780 guns off city streets last year, a five per cent drop from 2011.
In a letter to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the percentage of minorities stopped matched up with suspect descriptions provided by victims of violent crime, and that the racial breakdown of stops last year stayed roughly the same, with 55 percent being black.
But the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), a persistent critic of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk policy, was very critical of the numbers.
“These numbers show that the NYPD continues to stop, interrogate and humiliate innocent people far too frequently and that New Yorkers of color continue to bear the brunt of this indignity,” said NYCLU executive director Donna Lieberman.
Grenadian-American New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams said he tabled three bills in the City Council aimed at what he claims would provide better police accountability and safer streets.
Williams, who was unlawfully arrested during the West Indian American Day Carnival Parade in Brooklyn two years ago, said the bills marked “a huge step forward on the road to police reform.
Caribbean American Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican immigrants, who represents the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn, applauded Williams for “producing this groundbreaking package of legislation.”
“As we continue to ensure that our communities are safe, it cannot come at the price of diminishing or relinquishing the civil liberties of our law-abiding residents,” she told CMC.
“These bills would protect our citizens from the extreme, overreaching and unlawful activities conducted by some in the NYPD while, at the same time, respecting the freedoms of the innocent,” she added. “I will continue to fight at the federal level to ensure that New Yorkers' civil liberties are protected and respected while we keep our city safe.”