Stop and Frisk’s Dilemma
Business 28A 81110
Professor A. Chen
November 25, 2014
A dominant group of research has shown that the stop-and -frisk has brought a huge issue regarding racial profiling (Alpert, Dunham, & Smith, 2007). Specifically, African American and Latino New Yorkers were overwhelmingly targeted for stop-and-frisk activity (Stop-and-Frisk, 2011). The activity of stop-and-frisk is an action that any police officer can partake in whenever they feel like they have the factor of doing so. Meaning that it is their initiative whether they would stop an individual or not (Avdija A.S., 2014). Some of the factors that trigger the initiation are: closeness to the crime scene, high crime area, and suspicious behavior (Lippman 2013; Ridgeway, 2007). Since not all the factors in the procedure of stop-and-frisk do not show a specific possibility of racial discrimination, the majority should not think that this procedure is harmful to anyone. It is certain that races relate with the number of police stops, but it should be known that there is another factor in performing this action other than race. All should consider age and gender which are two factors that also create an enormous influence on the officers’ initiative (Schafer, Carter, Katz-Bannister, & Wells, 2006). Therefore, the author hypothesizes that the police stop-and-frisk procedure serves as a great tactic for many police officers to lessen the crime rate and to be more aware of any danger that may harm people. Stop-and-frisk should be seen by many as a form of protection rather than a form of discrimination. However, the police officer who is responsible for taking this action must act in a way that a legal requirement is still being executed. The paper then discusses the decline of the crime rate due to the stop-and-frisk procedure, specifically in New York City. It then discusses the erroneous use of stop-and-frisk, as well as expressing how Fourth Amendment correlates with this practice. Research shows that the New York City crime rate has declined over the past nine years. In 1990, there was a total of 2,245 murders in New York, but over the past nine years, this total has been less than 600 (Oppel, Richard, 2011). However, there has not been evident proof that the stop-and-frisk procedure is the reason of the declination of the crime rate. Indeed, stop-and-frisk contributes to some downturn of crime but the number is not high enough for the citizen and police to rely on. Specifically, only 3% of 2.4 million stops result in conviction. Some 2% of those arrests – or 0.1% of all stops – led to a conviction for a violent crime. Only 2% of arrests led to a conviction for possession of a weapon (Gabatt, A., 2013). In other words, the decrease in crime due to stop-and-frisk is mostly due to the discovery of possessed of weapons. Therefore, stop-and-frisk is not an effective procedure to use because it does not represent a huge impact in people’s safety (Gabatt, A., 2013). The author has done research about how police base their initiation towards the procedure of stop-and-frisk. Researchers have found that stop-and-frisk is a crime prevention strategy that gives a police officer the permission to stop a person based on “reasonable suspicion” of criminal activity and frisk based on “reasonable suspicion” that the person is armed and dangerous. It has been a contentious police practice since it was first approved by the Supreme Court in 1968 (THE CONSTITUTIONALITY OF STOP-AND-FRISK IN NEW YORK CITY, 2014). This controversy is mainly because of racial profiling. “Reasonable suspicion” was described by the court as “common sense” (Avdija, A., 2013). However, the statistics have shown that the police officer’s common sense towards stop-and-frisk commonly targets minorities. The descriptive statistics show that most of the suspects (92.3%) who were frisked by the police were minorities: 57.3% were African American, 32% were...
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