TRI in the News

War On What - Crime Or The Poor?

November 19, 2014

Many of us realize that sending troops abroad can be counter-productive. Our boots on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan led many to take up arms against us. To them, we were the invaders.

See if this analogy fits. We don’t have data everywhere but what we have is telling. The Rutherford Institute, which bills itself as “A non-profit conservative legal organization dedicated to the defense of civil, especially religious, liberties and human rights,” told the U.S. Supreme Court recently, that “the most common justification cited by New York City police for stopping individuals was presence in a ‘high crime area’” and “an additional 32% of stops were based on the time of day, and 23% of police stops were for an unspecified reason.”[1]

The Rutherford Institute explained that these stops yield very little: “only 4% of more than a half million individuals stopped, questioned, and searched in New York City in 2006 were actually arrested. … [A]nother field study indicates that only 3% of unconstitutional searches revealed evidence….” So when there is no specific reason to suspect someone, well over 95% of police stops do not result in an arrest or evidence. When they focus on minorities, the success rate actually goes down.

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