The Forum: What are the Consequences of Aggressive Policing: The NYPD’s Stop and Frisk Record

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The New York City Police Department engages in a form of aggressive policing that typically is referred to as “Stop and Frisk” or “Stop, Question & Frisk.” Stop and Frisk is part of a broader policy of active policing intended to keep crime rates down and streets safe. Proponents of the policy argue it has been extremely successful in its crime-reducing goals. Critics question this, and point as well to the dramatic racial effects of the policy. Data released by the NYPD for 2009 show 575,000 pedestrian stops — of these, for example, 55% involved African-Americans, though African-Americans make up only 23% of the city’s population. The NYPD policy is of great local concern, but debates over this policy also touch on much broader national and international questions involving racial profiling, and “community policing.” Racial profiling questions arise repeatedly, particularly of late in the context of the War on Terror. Community policing, the idea of aggressive enforcement in at-risk neighborhoods, has been a hot topic since George L. Kelling and James Q. Wilson’s famous article on “Broken Windows.”

Participants:
S. Andrew Schaffer, Adjunct Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Dennis Parker, Director of Racial Justice Program, American Civil Liberties Union (ALCU)
Heather MacDonald, John M. Olin Fellow, Manhattan Institute, Contributing Editor, City Journal
Moderator: Barry Friedman, Jacob D. Fuchsberg Professor of Law, NYU School of Law
Location: Vanderbilt Hall, Greenberg Lounge

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