With police stops back up in New York City, more people of color are targeted

Black and Latino New Yorkers made up 88% of all police stops in 2022, a new report shows.

For eight years in New York City, police stops declined across the five boroughs. Then, in 2022, the number of stops increased by a record margin — at the expense of Black and Latino people. 

This is according to a new study by the Data Collaborative for Justice at John Jay College in New York. The report examines pedestrian stops by the police from 2013 to 2022. These are defined as “Level 3” stops, where the police detain someone with reasonable suspicion that they committed a crime or are about to. 

Police stops fell by 92% from 2013 to 2021 but increased by 69% in 2022. That year, Black and Latino New Yorkers made up 88% of all police stops. The report also showed that Black people are being detained at an increasing frequency when compared to white people. In 2022, Black people were detained 11.8 times more than white people, up from 7.5 times more in 2013.

The report also said that while police stops declined, arrest percentages increased. For example, in 2013, just 8% of the 191,851 stops led to an arrest. By 2021, 38% of the 8,947 stops led to an arrest.

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NYPD officers follow along as people march calling on Israel to stop its Rafah invasion in Gaza on Feb. 12, 2024, in New York City. (Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images)

This level of transparency is a result of the 2020 racial reckoning after George Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis. New York State required police departments to share their data and information to collaborate on studies like these. 

“This was a big picture study looking at racial disparities over the past decade in a range of enforcement types: from stops to arrests to prosecutions,” Stephen Koppel, the senior research associate at the Data Collaborative for Justice who co-authored the study said in a released statement. 

He added, “The findings are a mixed bag. Overall, the rate of enforcement fell substantially for all racial and ethnic groups. However, because the declines were uneven, with the sharpest drops seen for white individuals, racial disparities tended to worsen during this time.”

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The 2022 increase in stops coincides with Eric Adams’ first year as mayor, where he said officers needed to return to stop-and-frisk tactics over crime concerns. After a surge in crime across the city for a couple of years, those numbers decreased, with overall crime decreasing by 4% in 2023 compared to 2022. Homicides went down 11.9% from 2022 to 2023. 

Even though stops rose from 2021 (8,947) to 2022 (15,102), stops remain well below the high of 685,724 in 2011. Still, advocates worry the city could return to its previous practice.

“We have clearly reached a new era from the unconstitutional mass stops of the Bloomberg administration,” Michael Rempel, the director of the Data Collaborative for Justice, said in a released statement. 

Rempel, who co-authored the study with Koppel, added, “Yet, even as annual stops plummeted since their peak in 2011, the 69% jump from 2021 to 2022 and a coinciding rise in racial disparities give pause — especially in the context of the City’s 2021 police reform plan, which expressly sought to limit unnecessary policing in Black and Brown communities.”

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