Trump’s Stop and Frisk is a Dangerous and Antiquated Idea


Donald Trump famously has little to no policy prescriptions behind his campaign. He pushes his idea of “winning” without specifying much in specifics on how that might be accomplished. Areas in which he does have concrete policy his ideas are simply bad and will have no positive effect on our nation. Building a wall, banning all Muslims (or, now people from Muslim nations), and weakening our commitment to our NATO allies are not only likely to not happen, if they did are certain to produce the opposite of a winning America.

Yesterday he added another absurdly bad policy to his platform.

Trump endorsed the idea of a national program of Stop and Frisk. I wanted to take a moment to illustrate to anyone willing to read how terrible an idea this really is:

1. This program has been ruled unconstitutional as it unfairly targets specific groups of people for a form of unreasonable search and seizure.

2. It DESTROYS community-police relations (watch that link, its great) that are the bedrock of a well functioning local society.

3. At a time when the nation is undergoing a reckoning with the existence of racialized policing we need policies to IMPROVE police-community relations now more than ever.

4. Where it has been employed, Stop and Frisk was likely not responsible for the reduction in crime. NYC, the famous example, employed the tactic during a time in which crime was already declining in the city, and there was no stat sig correlation between areas of high stop and frisk and reductions in violent crime. Crime across the country was on the decline as well, and there is no statistically significant [difference between these rates of decline?] decrease taking into account the general national trend line.

5. Stop and Frisk likely contributed to structural problems that raise crime rates and keep minority communities impoverished. Imagine if you were hassled by the police dozens of times before you were an adult. How would you feel about the police? Would you cooperate with them? Would you want to become one yourself? Moreover, if these unnecessary and petty police interactions led to arrest they further diminished marginalized young men of colors’ ability to hold a job, raise their kids, or otherwise contribute to their communities in positive ways. A criminal record is one of the greatest stigmas we can attach to an individual. Why do so when the individuals were previously committing no crime?

6. Policing is a local government responsibility — Trump is inviting federal intervention into a function of government that has historically been the responsibility of local officials. Even if you’re comfortable with this, the federal government couldn’t establish a national Stop and Frisk policy even if it wanted. Even if it was structured as a federal grant for voluntarily adopting the policy locally, it would likely only be employed in cities under republican control, which is to say not many.

Trump has little to offer Americans and where he does have something to offer it is so dangerous as to threaten the wellbeing of our nation greatly.