Article Critique Two
This paper explores two peer-reviewed articles that both intend to expand upon past information in regards to stop and frisk law enforcement procedures and its effect on crime data. Evans and Williams (2017) found that there were significant differences in regards to age groups, race, employment status, and income status in relation to public attitudes towards stop and frisk. Weisburd,Wooditch, Weisburd, and Yang (2015) found that their experiment resulted in significant data suggesting that stop, question, and frisk served as a deterrent in regards to crime. Overall, both articles suggested the importance of stop and frisk procedures in regards to being a crime deterrent but also suggest different means of making stop and frisk have more positive implications in regards to public attitudes and perception. Upholding ethical procedures, being unbiased, and suspicions made on a reasonable basis are all suggested to uphold the constitutionality of stop and frisk within law enforcement.
Article Critique Two
The main purpose of the article, “Stop, Question, and Frisk in New York City: A Study of Public Opinions”, is to analyze the findings on public perception in regards to stop and frisk (Evans & Williams, 2017). More specifically, this research study provides better understanding of demographic characteristics and how they relate to public opinion of stop and frisk procedures. The authors felt that research was needed, because previous research found that public perception had important social consequences. A past study found that those who have a negative perception of police will be less likely to work with the police, report crimes, and more likely to resist law enforcement authority (Murphy & Barkworth, 2014). The authors expanded upon this study’s analysis of public attitudes in regards to a more specific police practice, rather than police as a group. While many studies examine public attitudes towards the police, this study specifically analyzes their perception of stop and frisk. Over the course of four months, the author’s asked participants to complete a survey on the street. The participants were randomly selected pedestrians located in New York City. The survey questions included questions regarding race, age, gender, income, employment, marital status, and home location. The survey also had questions regarding past experience with law enforcement, specifically in regards to stop and frisk, and the results were measured on a 10 point Likert scale. The survey then measured their opinions about stop and frisk within New York City Police Department. The data went in the direction that was expected based on evidence about public attitudes towards police from Murphy and Barkworth (2014) presented in the article. Evans and Williams (2017) found that there were significant differences in regards to age groups, race, employment status, and income status. Those who were younger, a minority, not employed, and of a lower income status were significantly less likely to support stop and frisk. These findings suggest the importance of demographics and experience with law enforcement when it comes to the public’s attitude towards stop and frisk procedures. A downfall of this study is the method, street intercept recruitment, used to survey participants (Evans ; Williams, 2017). Because of this method used, this study is not able to be truly random. Also, another prominent downfall is that the survey was not able to survey those who were under the age of 18 due to Institutional Review Board restrictions (Evans ; Williams, 2017). This age group would be especially beneficial when it comes to attitudes towards stop and frisk and should be meticulously addressed in the future. Age and racial biases should be further addressed in stop and frisk future research studies. This study, however, did adequately expand upon public attitudes towards police as it integrated stop and frisk into the results. The study highlighted the importance of public perception and suggests that “if police make an effort to be more transparent in explaining their reasons for engaging in stop-and-frisk, particularly with certain groups of citizens that are already suspicious of the practice, it could ameliorate the relationship between police and citizens” (Evans ; Williams, 2017, p. 707). Overall, this article was effective and helped to expand upon previous knowledge.
In the article, “Do Stop, Question, and Frisk Practices Deter Crime? Evidence at Microunits of Space and Time”, the main purpose is to provide evidence in support of the theory that stop and frisk deters crime (Weisburd et al., 2015). This article analyzes the data at a microunit level, rather than larger areas. More specifically, the article analyses incidences of crime and the effect of stop and frisk on a weekly and daily basis at a microgeographic level (Weisburd et al., 2015). The authors felt that this research was necessary because previous research on stop, question, and frisk (SQF) focused on only large geographic areas. While these studies were useful, an expansion on them was needed due to Weisburd, Telep, and Lawton (2014) indicating “that SQFs in New York City were highly concentrated in at crime hot spots, implying that a microlevel unit of analysis may be more appropriate” (Weisburd et al., 2015, p. 31). Due to this, the authors conducted this study to expand on that previous research. The author’s replicated and improved upon the study conducted by Weisburd, Telep, and Lawton (2014). They used more specific locations, at a microgeographic level. They also used two analytic approaches to conduct the experiment rather than just one. The author’s first analytic approach used instrumental variables in order to analyze the impact of stop, question, and frisk on crime data on a weekly basis in New York City over six years. The second analytic approach used a space and time interaction model in order to analyze the effects of stop, question, and frisk on crime over a five day period and also within 500 feet of its occurrence. The authors found that both analytic approaches resulted in significant data suggesting that stop, question, and frisk served as a deterrent in regards to crime. The data went in the direction as expected due to previous studies covering a larger area. The findings led support to previous ones by Weisburd, Telep, and Lawton (2014) but expanded upon their results. The findings also lend additional support to the crime deterrence argument regarding stop and frisk procedures. A downfall of this study is that it does not account other policing strategies that could be potentially impacting crime data. Another downfall, noted by the authors, is that “there is no way to assure that the deterrence observed is not a result of a confounding in our models” (Weisburd et al., 2015, p. 49). Overall, this article does a good job expanding upon previous research. The focus on smaller geographic areas to analyze adds more specific data previously not attainable due to their focus on much larger geographic areas. This article adds practical knowledge in more comprehensive and specific manner regarding stop and frisk and its relation to crime deterrence.
In regards to crime control, stop and frisk has been used for a long period of time by law enforcement in order to deter crime. Stop and frisk is also known as “Terry stops because the 1968 Supreme Court decision in Terry v. Ohio (1968) gave officers the right to stop and detain a person when there was reasonable suspicion that he or she was in the act of committing a crime or about to commit a crime” (Weisburd et al., 2015, p. 32). This decision in Terry v. Ohio (1968) is constitutional because it does not provide blanket authorization to overstep an individual’s Fourth Amendment rights. The Fourth Amendment does not allow for unreasonable search and seizures, but stop and frisks are considered reasonable. Also, it does not allow for an intrusion simply based on a law enforcement officer’s inarticulate hunch in regards to a crime. This decision applies the investigation of crimes where law enforcement can articulate a reasonable basis for their suspicion. There are many issues raised when it comes to Terry v. Ohio (1968). Some people, however, believe that this ruling is unconstitutional and discriminatory. Some believe that it is “motivated by racial or age-based bias and limits the rights of citizens in public spaces” (Evans ; Williams, 2017, p. 707). When stop and frisk is conducted in a biased manner, it jeopardizes the trust between law enforcement and citizens. When law enforcement abuses their power in regards to stop and frisk, they go against God’s will. The Bible states, “There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28, New International Version). Stereotyping and discrimination is not acceptable in law enforcement. God is not bias, and law enforcement should be as well when it comes to stop and frisk because we have been called to “Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly” (John 7:24, New International Version). In using correct judgement, law enforcement officers may still be able to enforce the law and glorify God by doing so in an unbiased, ethical manner.
Evans, D., & Williams, C. (2017). Stop, Question, and Frisk in New York City: A Study of
Public Opinions. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 28(7), 87-709. doi: 10.1177/0887403415610166
Weisburd, D., Wooditch, E., Weisburd, S., &Yang, S. (2015). Do Stop, Question, and Frisk
Practices Deter Crime? Evidence at Microunits of Space and Time. Criminology and Public Policy, 15(1), 31-56. doi: 10.1111/1745-9133.12172