Here's the story in the Times and in the Daily News.
The difficulty is that any benefits and harms of aggressive stop and frisks are not only found in aggregate numbers but also in the individual incidents. Some of these stops are good. Some aren't. So how do we tell the difference? How do we keep the good and get rid of the bad?
In theory, I'm not against police stopping people based on reasonable suspicion. What's the alternative? Waiting for someone to call 911?
In practice, I worry about young and inexperienced officers stopping people to meet quotas.
In theory, I think stop and frisks can play an essential role in crime prevention and getting guns off the streets.
In practice, I worry about the extension of the Terry Frisk to an exploratory search.
And in theory the police can defend the racial disparity of those being stopped...
But in practice the NYPD needs to do a better job doing so. There are legitimate, serious, and moral issues involved. Simply pointing to crime stats isn't enough.
On one hand, it might be hard to defend this tactic if crime goes up. On the other hand, it's worth contrasting the situation in New York with the situation in Seattle. We need better policing--not less policing.