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NYPD: Homicides down, claim stop-and-frisk helped

CYRIL JOSH BARKER Amsterdam News Staff | 4/16/2013, 4:34 p.m.
As the battle continues in the city over the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk, the NYPD...
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As the battle continues in the city over the NYPD's use of stop-and-frisk, the NYPD reports that the tactic is reducing the homicide rate in the city.

According to the department, homicides this year are projected to reach a record low. A study by the NYPD states that there were 20.5 percent fewer murders than this time last year. The department said that the use of stop-and-frisk is helping take more guns off the streets that could lead to killings.

Stop-and-frisk has been under fire recently with the City Council's introduction of the Community Safety Act that is supposed to bring reform to the NYPD, specifically the use of stop-and-frisk. Critics say the practice is being abused at the expense of innocent people. Studies show Black and Latino men are prime targets for the practice.

Last month the Council conducted public hearings on the Community Safety Act. Many residents told stories about the harsh treatment they received as a result of being stopped and frisked by police officers.

"The Police Department conducted 203,500 stops in the first quarter, a record number. But in the second quarter, April, May and June, the police stopped 133,934 people," the Police Department's chief spokesman Paul J. Browne said in one report. "Surging resources to where violent crime occurs has continued to drive murder numbers down."

The NYPD stopped more than 1,400 innocent New Yorkers every day during the first nine months of 2012, according to a New York Civil Liberties Union analysis of new police data. During the first three quarters of the year, police stopped innocent New Yorkers 383,897 times. At the same time, street stops declined by 30 percent from the same period last year.

"It's encouraging to see street stops decline for the second quarter in a row," said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. "The drop in stop-and-frisks coupled with the drop in gun violence contradicts the NYPD's narrative that stopping and frisking every person of color in sight is necessary to reduce crime in New York City."

Anti-violence advocate Jackie Rowe-Adams, co-founder of Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E., said that NYPD should use stop-and-frisk to get guns off of the street. She lost two sons to gun violence.

"If someone had stopped and frisked the people who killed my kids, they would still be alive today," she said.

Rowe-Adams also said that while she supports the use of stop-and-frisk by the NYPD, she does believe it is being abused. Rowe-Adams told the AmNews that while reforms to the NYPD concern uniformed police, plainclothes narcotics detectives should be addressed as well.

"What about those working in undercover narcotics? Most of them are detectives, not police officers--there is a difference," she said. "People have told me that they have been chased by these detectives, and when they asked for their badge number, they were cursed out. The leaders have to sit at the table on stop-and-frisk and the community has to have an impact."