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Do Stop, Question, and Frisk Practices Deter Crime?

NCJ Number
Criminology and Public Policy Volume: 15 Issue: 1 Dated: 2015 Pages: 31-55
David Weisburd; Alese Wooditch; Sarit Weisburd; Sue-Ming Yang
Date Published
26 pages

The authors discuss their research into the impacts of stop, question, and frisk policies on crime incidents at a microgeographic level in New York City; they lay out their research motivations, methodology, and outcomes, as well as policy implications.


Existing studies examining the crime impacts of stop, question, and frisks (SQFs) have focused on large geographic areas. Previous research has suggested that SQFs in New York City (NYC) were highly concentrated at crime hot spots, implying that a microlevel unit of analysis may be more appropriate. The current study aims to address the limitations of prior studies by exploring the impact of SQFs on daily and weekly crime incidents in NYC at a microgeographic level. The findings suggest that SQFs produce a significant yet modest deterrent effect on crime. The authors’ findings support those who argue that SQFs deter crime. Nonetheless, it is not clear whether other policing strategies may have similar or even stronger crime-control outcomes. In turn, the level of SQFs needed to produce meaningful crime reductions are costly in terms of police time and are potentially harmful to police legitimacy. Publisher Abstract Provided