What Do People Really Think About The Stop And Frisk Policy?

Cover of (NYCLU) New York Civil Liberties Union 2011 Report of Stop and Frisk Activity via nyclu.org

Cover of (NYCLU) New York Civil Liberties Union 2011 Report of Stop and Frisk Activity via nyclu.org

By Sushmita Jitlall

New York City is widely known for its city lights, skyscrapers and culture. It is home to about 8 million people but not everyone feels safe living here because there are dangers lurking around corners and the NYPD, which is supposed to protect the people, may actually be harming the public.

In general, police officers are viewed as protectors of the people, making sure everyone is safe. In the past couple of years however, this perception of officers has shifted drastically as the Stop and Frisk policy is becoming heightened. The general public, which is supposed to be fully protected by the NYPD, is being threatened from the way people look, dress, and their whereabouts. The NYPD’s Stop and Frisk policy is a controversial topic that many could go on for days about, but the general idea is the same. Most agreed that it is a good policy with the needs of the people in mind, however, it is not carries out the way it should be which is why it is not favored.

As New York City becomes more populated, crime rates rise and NY police officers are on high alert. Police officers are frequently seen roaming the streets, having conversations with people and also frisking some. The NYPD does their job and is paid for it but most people think that Police officers misuse their power and overdo things sometimes.

“ (They think) They’re above the law,” said Francis Wills, a member of the Bronx Community, she then added and said, “They don’t know how to speak to people.”

Sharmila Khan, an associate at the Lehman College bookstore also said it would be better if the NYPD had more “Courtesy” with those they approach. Ms. Khan explained her “Mixed feelings” on the policy; she was somewhat okay with it “Depending on the use.”

According to ccrjustice.org (Center for Constitutional Rights) “Police officers are permitted to briefly stop any individual, but only upon reasonable suspicion that he is committing a crime. “ This is what most people argue for; Police officers should use the policy correctly, according to guidelines in order to assure safety for the public instead of stopping many people for no legitimate reason. According to alternet.org, “Eighty-eight percent of those stopped, however, are not charged with any crime.”

When asked about how they would feel if the stop and frisk policy was carried out like it’s supposed to, people replied with answers of approval for it.

“I prefer them to do it and I am safe,” Vashti Romeo said. She has never been stopped by the Police but has witnessed it being done to people.

“If they have probable cause, it’s okay,” Said Autumn Vasquez,also adding, “You should have a reason to search this person, or don’t do it at all.”

Overall, most people approve of the policy, but do not approve of the way police officers carry it out by targeting people and being hostile. The policy is effective if done correctly, some studies have shown a drop in crime rates because of it, however, that does not take away the effect it leaves on people.

“It’s not fair,” Keith B. Smith said. He then added that by officers misusing this policy, “ (It) Doesn’t support customary law (the difference between) right and wrong.”

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