Watch Out For Those “Furtive Movements”


Hot on the heels of the second part of our series on the 81st Precinct, the New York Times has posted its own take on the explosion in the number of stop and frisks, which climbed to 575,000 last year.

The Voice article reported that precinct supervisors appeared to be telling officers to do stops in part to satisfy the demand for statistics, and to do stops unrelated to some specific crime incident.

The Times article doesn’t deal with that issue, but it says a bunch of interesting things, notably, that blacks and latinos were nine times more likely than whites to be stopped, but no more likely to be actually arrested. The tactic yielded 762 guns, or about one-tenth of a percentage point of the total number of stops.

The Times article also reported that the most vague reason for stopping someone–“furtive movement”–was cited in 50 percent of the stops. The least common reason was that a person fit the description of a suspect–which, by the way, was originally the main reason for doing a stop and frisk. Cops used force in 24 percent of the stops.