Effect of Stop and Frisk on Latinos


Effect of Stop and Frisk on Latinos




Effect of Stop and Frisk on Latinos

The Stop (question) and Frisk policy introduced specifically by the New York Police Department (NYPD) has raised significant controversies. Despite being lauded as an imperative element of New York’s successful efforts towards the reduction of violent crime, the respective policy has been criticized largely for its ineffectiveness. Apparently, the implementation of the law has succeeded in only 6 percent of all stops made and nearly 2 percent in terms of weapon recovery. However, the most controversial concern regarding the Stop and Frisk policy involves its biased predisposition towards minority communities. Accordingly, over 80 percent of the individuals stopped comprised male African Americans and Latino Americans further subjecting the law to considerable protests attributed to discrimination on the basis of race. For the aim of the discourse, it is evident that the Stop and Frisk policy largely affects Latinos negatively.

The Stop and Frisk policy normally occurs when a police officer suspects that a particular individual is armed and lethal. To factually determine this, the individual is detained temporarily, patted down for any evidence of a weapon, and eventually released if contrabands are not found (Ridgeway, 2013). Prior to its re-introduction in New York City, the respective law was not popular until the decision established in Terry v. Ohio reinforced its existence (Ridgeway, 2013). At the time, police officers possessed the implied authority to stop a person and inquire especially if they had reasonable suspicions concerning them. Presently, the Stop and Frisk law has been criticized for facilitating prejudicial enforcement activities such as racial profiling, unauthorized stops, and infringement on privacy privileges (Gelman, Fagan, & Kiss, 2007). While it is arguable that a sizeable amount of criminal activity is evidenced with neighborhoods in the respective groups, data illustrates that African Americans or Latinos are often stopped.

The biased inclination of the Stop and Frisk policy towards the Latino community imposes negative implications on the respective group. Foremost, it is evident that the law breaches the rights and privileges of members of the community in question. By subjecting the minorities to the procedures involved, Latinos are forced to live in a stigmatized society. Consequently, the stigmatization of the Latino community, as an outcome of stigmatization, further contributes to marginalization to a considerable extent (Gelman, Fagan, & Kiss, 2007). Accordingly, the Stop and Frisk procedure estranges and marginalizes young Latino men who encounter more complicated obstacles while attempting to progress in the society. In the end, the integration of stigmatization and hindered social mobility subjects the marginalized Latino youth to a life of crime that establishes further disrespect between law enforcement officers and younger members of the affected Latino communities in a way similar to their African American counterparts.

The focus on communities of color under the Stop and Frisk policy causes significant distrust in police motivation among the members of the Latino community. Notably, the police officers generally stop minorities in neighborhoods in New York at a higher level than white persons. In an effort to support this discrepancy, the NYPD asserts that most of the criminals within such settings are predominantly Latino or African American (Gelman, Fagan, & Kiss, 2007). Nonetheless, the respective assertion is rebuffed due to the high number of stops imposed on the mentioned communities even in neighborhoods that are predominantly white (Grynbaum & Connelly, 2012). This predisposition towards Latinos and other minority groups clearly raises concerns about the efficacy of the Stop and Frisk policy and its distrustful implications on the affected communities.

To this end, the Stop and Frisk policy has been significantly criticized for the bias it has implemented with respect to minority communities that occupy various neighborhoods in New York. Accordingly, the laws in question stop Latinos or African Americans at a considerable level in contrast to whites irrespective of the composition of the neighborhood. Consequently, the prejudice employed under the law imposes several negative implications on young Latino men via stigmatization, marginalization, and mistrust between them and law enforcement officers.



Gelman, A., Fagan, J., & Kiss, A. (2007). An analysis of the New York City Police Department’s “stop-and-frisk” policy in the context of claims of racial bias. Journal of the American Statistical Association, 102 (479): 813–823.

Grynbaum, M. M., & Connelly, M. (2012, August 20). Majority in the city see police as favoring whites, poll finds. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Ridgeway, G. (2013). Analysis of racial disparities in the New York Police Department’s stop, question, and frisk practices. Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation.

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