by Adel Manoukian
The NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Policy has been under much public scrutiny for some time due to the police’s tendency to detain and sometimes search black and Latino young men.
Of the close to 700,000 people stopped last year, more than 80% were Hispanic and black. Close to half were frisked and 10 percent were arrested.
Like the practice, it seems New York City voters are divided along racial lines over the policy. A poll by Quinnipiac University released today reveals that 69% of black voters disapprove of Stop and Frisk while 53% of Hispanic voters and 57% of white voters approve of the policy. The over-the-phone survey of 1,298 city residents also found that men are divided on the practice with 47% in favor. Women, however, oppose the practice 51-43 percent. Overall, 50% of voters disapprove while 45% approve of Stop and Frisk.
While critics of the policy argue racism and that police unfairly target minorities, Mayor Bloomberg feels he has created a safer city with the practice in tact because it can persuade criminals to leave their guns at home. Last year, the police only confiscated 780 guns out of 684,330 stops made. That’s a rate of 1.1 guns every 1,000 stops, according to NY Times reports.
50% of voters believe that a decrease in police use of the policy would not lead to an increase in gun violence, considering it may not even be affective. Again, the vote is very divided among race–63% of black voters agree, while 49% of white voters and 52% of Hispanic voters believe that a decreased use of the policy would lead to an increase in gun violence.
“Public opinion is just about down-the-middle on the police tactic of stop and frisk,” said Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. “If the decline in such stops persists, will gun violence grow? On this question, too, New Yorkers are divided. But we’re still a liberal city. If there’s a choice between taking all steps to end crime and protecting civil liberties, New Yorkers come down 78 – 16 percent on the civil liberties side. “
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