I was watching the debate last Monday and one of the things that stuck out to me (besides Trump’s impeccable duck face) was the argument he made for resolving the racial tensions in America… Implementing ‘Stop and Frisk’. The segment of the debate Lester Holt asked bother candidates how they would fix the racial problems in the country. The entire segment is only about 15 minutes long.
Donald Trump states in the debate that America needs more law and order. The streets are dangerous and implementing the stop and frisk will decrease crime significantly like it did in NYC. Lester Holt goes on to say that ‘stop and frisk’ was ruled unconstitutional they way that New York did it because it was shown to have caused racial profiling. Trump denies that it is unconstitutional. Now, we can all agree that we need to improve the relationship between community and police. I am even trying to address the issue through my studio project (we are designing a police station/community center for the Hill District in Pittsburgh). I would like to use science to fact check Donald Trump in his argument that stop and frisk would actually reduce crime (or reduce the tensions between community and police).
First thing you need to know is what Stop and Frisk actually is. Stop and Frisk is the policing policy that was implemented by the New York Police Department which allows them the right to question and search a pedestrian if the police has “reasonable suspicion” that this person could be a potential danger.
Does ‘stop and frisk’ inherently promote racial profiling? YES
Does ‘stop and frisk’ decrease crime? NO
The idea of reasonable suspicion is not a new concept to police. The early 1980s, police were given the power to question someone if they had “reasonable suspicion” that there was a crime. Stop and Frisk was greatly implemented in 2002, with more than 97,000 stops. The stops increased even more in 2008. There were a lot of people that disagreed with this policy, saying that this program mostly targeted the African-American community. Mayor Bloomberg defended the program by calling out the African-American community as more violent (This is very untrue. Race has nothing to do with violent tendencies and only reinforces the idea that maybe this program does in fact cause racial profiling?). There were thousands of people that attended silent protests against ‘stop and frisk’ but it wasn’t until August 12, 2013, that the US Courts finally ruled that the way that NYPD was stopping specific pedestrians on the basis of “reasonable suspicion” was unconstitutional.
So how does politics relate to science? Science is used to determine whether correlation equals causation. Does Stop and frisk lower crime rates? When Stop and frisk was implemented in NYC, the crime rates went down. Does this necessarily mean that this is a causation? If we were to do an experiment on this, we could take away stop and frisk and if the crime rises, we know that the correlation does equal causation. Luckily NYC found stop and frisk to be unconstitutional and we’re able to look at the statistics of crime and police stops. Let’s see what happened….
Even though the number of stops decreased substantially in 2015 from 2011 (by more than 650,000) the amount of total crime that year was lower in 2015. This is one “experiment” that shows that the correlation between the stop and frisks and crime was not a causation.
Trump may have told America in the debate that murder rates are up since they have ended ‘stop and frisk’ in New York but *Fact check* this is a lie. Trump doesn’t know what he’s talking about, especially when it comes to race relations. Not only does this not work but it also has been proven to cause racial profiling. I do not wish that this posts will try to sway you to vote a certain way; I am simply here to keep everyone informed on what policies will work for the country and what policies will definitely not, regardless of which one of these people we put in the White House.