A significant majority of New Yorkers say the Police Department favors whites over blacks, says a new The New York Times survey. That view, as widespread now as it was in 2001 when Rudolph Giuliani was mayor, is particularly prevalent among black New Yorkers, 80 percent of whom say the police favor one race over the other. Some 48 percent of white residents agree.
Concern about police favoritism comes amid intensified scrutiny of the department’s extensive practice of stopping, questioning and, in many instances, frisking people. Last year, the police made nearly 700,000 stops; about 85 percent of the stops involved blacks or Hispanics. The poll found that a majority of black residents said the stop-and-frisk tactic had led to the harassment of innocent people, but most white residents viewed the practice as an acceptable way to improve urban safety. Among all New Yorkers, 48 percent said the tactic was “acceptable to make New York City safer,” while almost as many — 45 percent — deemed the tactic “excessive.” Most of those surveyed rejected Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s chief rationale for the practice, saying they did not think that stopping and frisking suspicious people had lowered the crime rate or reduced the use of illegal guns.