Prior research on the NYPD’s stop, question, and frisk policies has focused largely on attempts to understand the policy and its implementation. The earlier studies examined the descriptive characteristics of people stopped, stop locations, and resulting police activities. Yet little is known about how the people affected by the policy—particularly young people of color in the most highly patrolled neighborhoods of New York City—experience it.

The project—developed by Vera's Center on Youth Justice (CYJ) in consultation with the Pipeline Crisis: Winning Strategies for Young Black Men, a project for which Vera serves as fiscal sponsor—was funded primarily by the Rockefeller Foundation and yielded a final report in September 2013. The study measured not only the extent and nature of stop, question, and frisk interactions between police and adolescents, young adults, and their families, but also the relationship between these interactions with the police and people’s perceptions of police and of themselves. CYJ researchers collected a combination of interview and survey data over the summer of 2012. The researchers conducted a series of in-depth interviews with young adults and their families living in high-stop areas, focusing on their experiences with police, their views of justice, and how the practice affects self-perceptions. They surveyed 500 young adults in high-stop areas. The survey questions were designed to measure participants’ attitudes toward police, themselves, and their willingness to report a crime.

Why study how youth are affected by New York City’s stop, question, and frisk policy?

The practice of stop, question, and frisk plays an undeniably large role in police/community relations in New York City. In 2011, the NYPD recorded roughly 685,000 stops—an increase of 12 percent in one year, and of about 400 percent from 2001. Police did not charge the majority of people they stopped with any delinquent or criminal activity. Moreover, the practice appears to disproportionately affect people of color. While researchers have investigated both the prevalence of such stops and the race of those stopped, there has been much less social science research on how the people affected by the practice experience it.

For additional information, contact Mary Crowley, Vice President for Communications and Public Affairs, (212) 376-3172.