The stop and frisk policy of New York City has long been debated. I and other PolicyMic pundits have written about its failures in the past. However, the debate is gaining new traction as the controversial policy is having its day in court. Defenders of the policy will continue to tie the declining crime rates as signs this actually works. However, the results of the stop and frisk policy are not indications of a role in reducing crime, instead it is creating a barrier for law enforcement to solve existing crimes.
The main idea is that these stops are leading to criminals and guns being taken off the streets. In 2011, nine out of ten people stopped were not arrested or even given a summons. That year guns were found in 0.12% of stops with men and .013% for women. Any correlation with these meager results and major drops in crime is a stretch by form of the imagination.
What the policy is creating is a hostile environment especially for young minorities. There were 168,126 stops of African American males between the ages of 14 and 24, the population in 2011 for that demographic was 158,406. When Hispanic makes for this age bracket are included these made up 41.6% of all stops despite only representing 4.7% of the city's population.
Herein lays the problem with the policy. A culture of "no snitching" already exists particularly in the young black males who are influenced by today's rappers.
Cities like Chicago are trying to find solutions for the impact "no snitching" has on solving crimes. However, when more young minority males are stopped than actually exist a culture of multiple stops per person is prevalent. The result is a rise in distrust in law enforcement, which further exasperates the culture of not snitching.
While the stop and frisk policy may not be increasing crime in the city, it is having an impact on the ability of law enforcement to solve crimes. The results are not indications that they are playing a role in reducing crime and instead are creating a barrier for law enforcement to solve existing crimes. It accomplishes this by strengthening the culture of distrust and "no snitching." If a policy discourages working with law enforcement is really able to reduce crime?