"Stop and frisks" hit record high in 2010

February 23, 2011 3:16:30 PM PST
New statistics show that New York Police Department officers made a record number of stop and frisks last year.

More than 600,000 people were stopped, most of them frisked, and 85-percent of them black and Latino. The overwhelming number of them were innocent, with just 7-percent leading to an arrest and even fewer guns found.

"New York needs to find a better way to fight crime than stopping half a million people a year only to get a few arrests," Vince Warren of the Center For Constitutional Rights said.

The Center is suing the NYPD for its Stop and Frisk crime-fighting tactic. The Center believes it's a daily harassment of people, mostly minorities, who have done nothing wrong.

"This is a systematic program that harasses African American and Latino people more than anybody else and it doesn't get guns off the street," Warren said.

"Crime continues to go down," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said at a news conference this afternoon, defending the Stop and Frisk tactic. It's use has increased 500-percent since he became commissioner.

HOFFER: A record 600-thousand stopped and frisked that's yielded few arrests and even fewer guns, how is this effective crime fighting?
KELLY: I think it's a life saving tactic. I think it's made a major difference on the streets of this city. Obviously, we need reasonable suspension to stop someone to question them. It stands to reason that you're going to think twice if you are going to take a gun on the streets of the city if you're going to be stopped and questioned.

Jesus Gonzalez has lost count of how many times he's been stopped and frisked while walking in his Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick. He's never been arrested.

"Publicly embarrassed, yes, many times. It doesn't matter if I am wearing a hoodie or a tie like I am right now," he said.

There were 575, 304 stops recorded in 2009. The 2010 numbers were made public on Tuesday.