The 97% Failure Rate of Stop and Frisk

Though the 4th Amendment requires that no search can be made without probable cause, the courts have allowed the much lower “reasonable suspicion” standard for many types of police stops. A new report that shows a 97% failure rate should put that absurd idea to rest permanently.

A new report released by New York’s Attorney General has found unequivocal evidence that New York City’s ‘stop and frisk’ policy is a complete failure…

According to the new data, an astonishing 97% of those stopped under this policy, and over half of those arrested, are proven innocent.

This report is the most detailed examination of the policy’s arrest and conviction rate ever released; data from the New York Police Department and the Office of Court Administration were used, and over 2.4 million stops in 3 years (between 2009 and 2012) were examined. These stops resulted in almost 150,000 arrests, less than half of which resulted in a guilty verdict.

Of those that were arrested, only 2% (or 0.1% of all stops) led to a conviction for a violent crime – the same percentage led to a conviction for possession of a weapon.

Probable cause would seem to require, at the very least, a better than 50/50 chance that the person is committing a crime. But they can’t even hit 50/50 on those they actually arrest, much less for the millions of people stopped and frisked who were doing nothing wrong at all.

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  • Just imagine a 97% failure rate in your car’s antilock braking system.

  • that would make a good video……Imagine if your cars braking system were as reliable as Stop and Frisk……crash, squeal, crash, crash, crash……….

  • Should, but won’t.

  • eric

    It is better that ten tens of innocent suffer, than one guilty person escape. Blackstone would be so proud.

  • doublereed

    Well, the goal is to harass people, not stop criminals. It’s really just how you define failure.

  • tsig

    That 97% rate proves that stop and frisk is successful as a deterrent. Imagine what the crime rate would be if we didn’t have it. Cats/dogs….raining toads…..TEOCAWKI.*

    The End If Civilization As We Know It

  • tsig

    If => of


  • Just because it’s a failure doesn’t mean it will stop. It’s more likely that rightwingnuts will expand it to other cities and states.

    Florida’s drug testing of welfare recipients had a 97.5% failure rate – only 2.5% tested positive, not the 25% the republicans predicted. The same thing happened in other states, the number of tests was negligible compared to the claims made by those who hate the poor.’s_inane_money_eating_sham_drug_tests_for_welfare_a_huge_failure/

    During the past year, the state of Utah has spent over $30,000 giving drug tests to welfare recipients. In that time period, only 2.6 percent of those tested were found to have used illegal substances — well below the national use rate of 8.9 percent. As in all eight states where drug tests are used to determine eligibility for government assistance, specifically Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), Utah’s program was allegedly initiated on the grounds of saving the state money.


    But in 2012 [in Arizona], three years and 87,000 screenings later, only one person had failed a drug test.

    And “abstinence only” turned out to increase teen pregnancy and STD transmission, but that didn’t stop idiots from trying to expand the “program”.

    Oh, and speaking of callous Arizona republicans and “money saving”….

    Arizona prison horror: “Critically ill” inmates told to “pray” for healing

    The report, released last week by the American Friends Service Committee, a progressive Quaker group, comes as an American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit against the Arizona Department of Corrections awaits an appeals court ruling over the state’s challenge to its class action status. The ACLU alleges “grossly inadequate” care that creates “grave danger” for inmates, including “critically ill” people who were told to “be patient” or “pray” for healing, or that “it’s all in your head.”

    You can be sure some will say the prisoners “deserve it” or “brought it on themselves”.

  • suttkus

    The Florida welfare-drug-testing program was a complete success! The governor owns the drug testing companies used so it lined his pockets with money, which is the only point the program ever had. Tax money comes from the poor, goes to the rich, as God intended. 100% success!

  • illdoittomorrow

    Ed Brayton, @ OP:

    “Probable cause would seem to require, at the very least, a better than 50/50 chance that the person is committing a crime. But they can’t even hit 50/50 on those they actually arrest, much less for the millions of people stopped and frisked who were doing nothing wrong at all.”

    Yabbut, yabbut, if it weren’t for those librul social engineering activist judges, I bet all of those people arrested would have been convicted of the crimes they were arrested for: being brown in a public place and/or contempt of cop!

  • This is one of those things where results don’t matter. If the failure rate was 100%, it’d be used as an excuse to expand the program, since they obviously aren’t stopping enough people to catch the criminals. The people who support policies like this and the welfare drug tests never stop to think about the costs to the innocent so long as they think they can catch a criminal. Guilt is effectively presumed instead of innocence.

  • Ed, I’m surprised that no one else mentioned that you just linked to something called “The Joint Blog”.

  • chilidog99
  • chilidog99

    from the report

    The need to avoid collateral consequences of open arrests—including

    possible loss of employment, housing, student loans, and immigration

    status—creates an incentive for SQF arrestees to plead guilty; and

    As stops increased, New York City saw a sharp uptick in litigation

    costs for lawsuits alleging violations by the NYPD. In 2009, for the

    first time in thirty years, the NYPD became the city agency with the

    highest dollar amount of legal settlements