Terry v. Ohio in NYC: NYPD Make 600,000 Street Stop, Arrest 7%

February 23rd, 2011

When discussing Terry v. Ohio in class, I always bring up the tradeoff between the intrusion upon liberty of a temporary frisk versus the intrusion upon liberty of a full-blown arrest. Some interesting numbers from the Times about street stops in NYC.

According to data provided by the police, officers made 600,601 street stops in 2010, about a 3.5 percent increase from the more than 580,000 stops the department logged in 2009, the previous recorded high. Seven percent of the stops last year led to an arrest, compared with 6 percent a year earlier.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly attributed the increase in stops to officers’ observing more suspicious behavior. “It’s situational,” he said. “Situations drive the use of that tactic. It depends on what conditions police officers find in the street.”

Situational? Sounds a lot like the totality of the circumstances test for reasonable suspicion. Or sounds like the NYPD is taking diction lessons from Jersey Shore.