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Stop-and-frisk down almost 50 percent in 115th Precinct

The Rev. Al Sharpton (c.) walks with thousands to protest stop-and-frisk. Citywide, stop-and-frisk numbers are down. AP Photo/Seth Wenig
TimesLedger Newspapers

Through the first nine months of the year, the number of stop-and-frisks the police conducted across the city was down dramatically from the same period in 2011 and on pace for the biggest year-to-year decline during the Bloomberg administration. But downtown Jamaica was not keeping pace with the drop.

With the exception of a 6 percent decline between 2006 and 2007, the number of stops conducted by the NYPD citywide has increased every year since 2001 and the figures continued this trend during the first three months of 2012, when stops were up 11 percent across all precincts compared to the same period last year, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union.

But after the NYCLU released a highly publicized report in May criticizing the Police Department’s numbers, the city recorded a six-month period when stop-and-frisk numbers fell below last year’s, down 25 percent in the April-June quarter and 30 percent in the July-September period. At the end of September the stop-and-frisk pattern was down 14 percent overall from the first nine months of 2011, according to the NYPD’s numbers.

And while there were fewer stops in downtown Jamaica’s 103rd Precinct from quarter to quarter this year, the numbers were still higher at the end of September than they were at the same time last year.

The 103rd, which ranked eighth among precincts last year in the number of total stops, was up nearly 4 percent by the end of September, with 6,409 stops during the year’s first three quarters compared to 6,176 stops during the same time in 2011. The 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, which ranked third in total stops last year, was down almost 50 percent, counting 3,427 stops through the first nine months this year compared to 6,805 in 2011, according to NYPD numbers.

Despite the decrease in overall stops, the number of innocent people who were neither arrested nor issued a ticket remained just about the same, hovering near 88 percent, according to the NYCLU, and the majority of those stopped were black and Hispanic men.

“It’s encouraging to see street stops decline for the second quarter in a row,” said NYCLU Executive Director Donna Lieberman.

“At the same time the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk program continues to have a 90 percent failure rate,” Lieberman added. “It remains a tremendous waste of resources, sows mistrust between police and the communities they serve and routinely violates fundamental rights.”

The City Council Public Safety Committee, chaired by Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Astoria), was considering four bills, known collectively as the Community Safety Act, which would provide oversight of the NYPD and reform its practices.

A Quinnipiac poll of city voters released last week showed that 53 percent of respondents disapproved of stop-and-frisk, which was up from 50 percent in August.

Reach reporter Rich Bockmann by e-mail at rbockmann@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4574.

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