WNYC: ‘Police Aren’t Finding Guns Where They’re Looking the Hardest’ with Stop-and-Frisk


WNYC’s Ailsa Chang and the wizards at the station’s Data News Team have the story this morning you must read if you’re interested in gun safety and/or stop-and-frisk.

Mayor Bloomberg has been on a roll defending stop-and-frisk lately, trying desperately to get people to embrace his controversial policing practices a decade into his administration. One tactic has been trying to convince New York liberals (who generally like the idea of gun control) that illegal guns are coming off the streets because of stop-and-frisk (the policy of searching hundreds of thousands of innocent black and brown folks a year which liberals generally don’t like).

But, as Chang and the WNYC Data Team show, it looks like there is little correlation between where illegal guns are seized and where stops and frisks occur. At all. Whatsoever.

Expect the mayor and NYPD Police Commissioner Ray Kelly (if they respond to the story) to say that stop-and-frisk’s low level of contraband is actually proof that what they do is working, because of its deterrence effect. Look for them also to ignore, as the Voice pointed last year, that by the NYPD’s own numbers they actually get a higher yield of contraband from white people than blacks or Hispanics (and that they’d pick up a higher yield of contraband if they just took stop-and-frisk to the gentrified neighborhoods).

But read Chang’s WNYC’ story, and check out their interactive map to see a block by block analysis of where stop-and-frisks actually happen and how little overlap there is with capturing illegal guns.


This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 16, 2012

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