Today’s news:

Frisky business: Williamsburg cops stop-and-frisk all the time

The Brooklyn Paper

Williamsburg community leaders are furious with police for aggressively searching tens of thousands of neighborhood residents in the name of public safety.

Cops in the neighborhood’s 90th Precinct stopped and frisked 17,566 people last year — using the controversial police practice more than all but four precincts citywide — even as crime rates in the community continue to decline.

“It’s not only illegal but totally immoral and contrary to what the city stands for,” said Luis Garden Acosta, head of the Williamsburg arts group El Puente. “Young people used to be put in detention, now they’re getting put in cuffs.”

The 10-year-old NYPD tactic allows cops to stop anyone they believe looks suspicious, may be armed, or exhibits unusual behavior, question them, and search them.

The 90th Precinct, which is roughly bounded by Kent Avenue, Flushing Avenue and Metropolitan Avenue, apparently embraced the policy, halting and searching about two people per hour on average.

Cops in Williamsburg trailed the 75th Precinct in East New York which had 31,100 stops, and the 73rd Precinct in Brownsville, which have 25,167 stops, according to data analyzed by the New York Civil Liberties Union and leaked to the Daily News.

Those neighborhoods are beset with some highest crime rates in the city, but Williamsburg has recorded a steady decrease in felonies — including murders, assaults, rapes, robberies, burglaries, car thefts, among other major crimes — over the past decade, registering 2,014 criminal complaints in 2001 compared to 1,736 incidents last year.

North Brooklyn activists say the practice targets young men of color and alienates them from police officers.

“This practice is abusive and your rights will be violated because of some officer’s subjective profile,” said Community Board 1 member Esteban Duran. “I have complete respect for the duties of a police officer, but this is unfair from them. They shouldn’t be burdened to stop people when they should be doing real police work.”

Officers from the 90th Precinct declined to comment, but NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly defended stop-and-frisk at a City Council hearing last week, saying the controversial tactic reduces crime.

“People are upset about being stopped, yet what is the answer?” said Kelly. “What have you said about how do we stop this violence? What have leaders of the communities of color said? What is their strategy to get guns off the street?”

Cops on the street support the tactic, but admit that carrying it out can be a challenge.

“It’s a one-on-one encounter and you hope every encounter with the public is a positive one,” said 94th Precinct Deputy Inspector Terence Hurson, whose Northside and Greenpoint officers did not use stop and frisk as much as his neighbor to the south. “In essence you’re accusing the person with conducting a crime.”

Studies have shown that police who use the tactic are overwhelmingly targeting young black and Latino men.

Last year, 51 percent of the 685,724 individuals stopped and frisked citywide were between 14 and 24 years old. About half of them were black, one third were Latino, and 88 percent of them were innocent of any crime, according to New York Civil Liberties Union stats.

Williamsburg activist Juan Ramos, who works with at-risk youth in central Brooklyn, claims teens he works with have been stopped and frisked for doing little more than walking to his meetings.

“We see how that dejects these young people and they feel like this is everyday life because they’re young men of color,” said Ramos. “They accept that’s what the police do, without knowing they have some rights.”

Reach reporter Aaron Short at ashort@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2547.

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Reader Feedback

manhatposeur from portlyn lakes park says:
Well if the thugs stop targeting hipsters or started hanging out with azn's & white people taht might help.
March 21, 2012, 9:12 am
Mike from Williamsburg says:
Shameful.
March 21, 2012, 9:13 am
k says:
I wouldn't mind getting frisked if it made the place safer
March 21, 2012, 10:21 am
Ben from Greenpoint says:
NYPD keep up your good job.. we need more cops on the street..
March 21, 2012, 12:59 pm
ty from pps says:
That's not 17,566 different people... that's 17,566 stop-and-frisks.
March 21, 2012, 4:04 pm
Rob from Williamsburg says:
I bet they didn't frisk one single Hasid.
March 21, 2012, 7:11 pm
zupig from brooklyn says:
Rob from Williamsburg says:
I bet they didn't frisk one single Hasid. And how exactly would you know how many and who was stopped? And by the way the only reason its declining in that section of brooklyn is only because of the hassids. They are the ones that have a neighborhood watch and they are bringing down crime Not the yuppies who bring lots of crime to the area. I wouldn't generalize but I have to so you should understand how it feels when you love hassids like you do just for the simple reason BECAUSE you are JEALOUS. By complaining on others won't make any change for the better for you. When you see the hassids have more or get more try to copy them do a block vote like them elect who brings you more not take from you. Not just sit and cry THEY have or get more. When was the last time you actually did anything for your community maybe you only want and never give. Bottom line stop whining
March 21, 2012, 10:45 pm
Rob from Williamsburg says:
I've done an extraordinary amount of volunteer work for my son's (public) school, and quite a bit of gardening in South Williamsburg. But I've never gone barreling 50 mph down Wythe Ave with a cigarette in one hand and a cell phone in the other as I run the stop sign at Division Street. Sure, I bet not a single Hassid has ever stolen an iPhone at knife point. Just like I bet not a single latino landlord has ever burned down their own building to collect the insurance, or that not a single African American has a secret bank account in the homeland that they funnel stolen checks to.
March 22, 2012, 12:07 am
manhatposeur from Portlyn lakes Park says:
As muchas I have a disdain for the hassids in their attempt to "subhumainize" cyclist or non-hassid hipsters, they are not violent like some of the ghetto peoplesz.
March 22, 2012, 12:25 am
Jane from williamsburg says:
@ Rob--your comment doesn't make sense. It is completely jumbled up words.
There is an error in the above story. Rapes have risen in the 90th precinct. The Brooklyn Paper actually recently did an article on that. I guess this reporter did not read that article.
The police in the 90th precinct are NOT doing a good job. "What have you said about how do we stop this violence?"--Ray (I want to be mayor) Kelly. How do you stop it? When citiizens call the police the police SHOULD take police reports. I and other citizens of South Williamsburg/90th precinct have called the police, the police come and REFUSE TO TAKE A REPORT. Yes Ray Kelly this might shock you, but one way to stop crime is to take a police report for a crime (robbery, physical attacks on women, physical groping by men (including Hasids!) drug dealing--especially on South 2nd STreet between Hooper and Keap St.) so then the crime can be solved and future crime prevented. The buildings owned by Manz Realty around Hooper and South 1 and South 2 Streets have drug dealing in them. The landlords--the Knoll family--pretend to care, but when specifically told about the apartments that sell drugs they do nothing to stop it. They allow the supers to be involved in it also. And the bodega (with it's surveillance camera and frineds police scanners) on Hooper between S 1 and S 2 gives cash for food stamps and is the living room for the junkies that cop at 381 hooper street from the supers helper. All these things have been reported to the police in 911 calls and direct calls to the 90th precinct. Nothing is done. As has been posted in comments in the Brooklyn Paper before, your cops don't take police reports because they have been told NOT to do their jobs (by you and Bloomberg). Even the cops do not like the orders they have to not take crime reports. They will be glad when Bloomberg is out of office. SO keep frisking--it is sooooooo effective. I am posting about all of the specific locations because I am hoping that someone at the 90th precinct might do something about the addresses posted here. I dare you to do your job! C'mon cops, Kelly won't be there forever. Start doing your job and be proud of yourself at the end of the day. Take police reports when called. Thank you!!!
March 22, 2012, 5:13 am
fatimah from cobble hill says:
Do they give back massages? I need one.
March 22, 2012, 6:51 am
fatimah from cobble hill says:
I think Jane needs a drink.And maybe she should move to a new neighborhood. White people move in, crime goes up. Stop flashing everything you have and use some common sense. There is an incredibly huge income disparity between the have-nots and the new white elite. Reminds me of Iraq. Wise up.
March 22, 2012, 6:59 am
Nuts from the Can says:
Thanks Jane for the details. This corner of the Southside is atrocious. Too many large Section 8 buildings with 3-generation families as tenants, sitting on the stoop throwing their garbage around. The cops don't care, they do their quotas & commute home to the 'burbs. Best to move. I've been there 10 yrs and I'm moving. It's a sty. Good Luck with the cucarachas
March 22, 2012, 10:23 am
Nuts from the Can says:
Thanks Jane for the details. This corner of the Southside is atrocious. Too many large Section 8 buildings with 3-generation families as tenants, sitting on the stoop throwing their garbage around. The cops don't care, they do their quotas & commute home to the 'burbs. Best to move. I've been there 10 yrs and I'm moving. It's a sty. Good Luck with the cucarachas
March 22, 2012, 10:24 am
Voice Of Verdad from 11211 says:
Racist and violative of the constitution. Bloomberg and his police state are awful.
March 22, 2012, 10:02 pm
Voice Of Verdad from 11211 says:
Racist and violative of the constitution. Bloomberg and his police state are awful.
March 22, 2012, 10:02 pm
bornhere from williamsburg says:
Are you really gonna trust crime reporting from the same 'journalist' who writes the kickball articles? Consider the source, people.
March 22, 2012, 11:54 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is great news, the cops should get a medal for the stop and frisk policy..I'm surprised they only stop two per hour..they should be stopping four per hour, I was in williamsburg..they need the stop and frisk policy only an enhansed version. I think it's real funny that some one wants to know how many Hassids were stopped..it's pretty simple, just look in the jails..how many hassids are behind bars?
March 23, 2012, 11:26 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is great news, the cops should get a medal for the stop and frisk policy..I'm surprised they only stop two per hour..they should be stopping four per hour, I was in williamsburg..they need the stop and frisk policy only an enhansed version. I think it's real funny that some one wants to know how many Hassids were stopped..it's pretty simple, just look in the jails..how many hassids are behind bars?
March 23, 2012, 11:26 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is great news, the cops should get a medal for the stop and frisk policy..I'm surprised they only stop two per hour..they should be stopping four per hour, I was in williamsburg..they need the stop and frisk policy only an enhansed version. I think it's real funny that some one wants to know how many Hassids were stopped..it's pretty simple, just look in the jails..how many hassids are behind bars?
March 23, 2012, 11:27 pm
al pankin from downtown says:
this is great news, the cops should get a medal for the stop and frisk policy..I'm surprised they only stop two per hour..they should be stopping four per hour, I was in williamsburg..they need the stop and frisk policy only an enhansed version. I think it's real funny that some one wants to know how many Hassids were stopped..it's pretty simple, just look in the jails..how many hassids are behind bars?
March 23, 2012, 11:27 pm
old time brooklyn from slope says:
You go Al - colored oops people of color arent smart enough to do the real money re white collar crime
March 24, 2012, 4:57 pm
Jane from Williamsburg says:
Fatimah. I'm not white. I don't flash cash and I have never been mugged. Jump to ASSumptions why don't you?
Aug. 16, 2012, 3:30 am

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