There Is No Consistent Link Between Stop-and-Frisk and Shootings

April 2, 2015 | Liam Mathews

Capital New York examined data from reported police stops between 2005 and 2014 and compared those numbers with shootings in the city and found no conclusive link between number of stops and number of shootings.

The controversial, unconstitutional policy of stopping “suspicious” people is ideally meant to stop violent crime before it happens, but mostly it just gives police free reign to jam up whomever they want; primarily young black and Latino men. The tactic has drastically declined in use since its peak in 2011 as shootings have risen in 2014 and 2015, but Capital found that the negative correlation is almost nonexistent. Before 2014, stop-and-frisks and shootings tracked each other. Between 2007 and 2011, stop-and-frisks increased by 45%, as did shootings, but only by 5%. Stop-and-frisks decreased drastically in 2012 and 2013, but shootings also decreased during that time.

The numbers don’t tell a convincing story, and don’t prove a conclusive link in either direction. But the fact that they don’t prove that stop-and-frisk had any significant impact shows that Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton were right to end the stop-and-frisk era. Its negative impacts on innocent people outweigh whatever crime-reducing benefit it may have.

(Photo: Ken Stein)