Debate Fact Check: Trump on Stop-and-Frisk and Crime Rates in NYC

Late in the debate, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton sparred on race relations, racial profiling and the New York City murder rate. Trump touted the success of stop-and-frisk and what it could do to bring down a skyrocketing murder rate in Chicago.

The Republican candidate said that in inner cities, black and Latino communities "are living in hell because it's so dangerous," and that if you walk down streets in places like Chicago, "you get shot." 

He said that "stop-and-frisk had a tremendous impact on the safety of New York City" and that the controversial policing tactict could be used in other cities to achieve a similar result.

"We have to bring back law and order," Trump said. "Now whether or not in a place like Chicago you do stop-and-frisk, which worked very well, Mayor Giuliani is here, it worked very well in New York. It brought the crime rate way down."

Trump is correct that the murder rate has plummeted in New York City in the last two decades. But the same could be said for many other large American cities during the same period, and there's no way to credit stop-and-frisk for the decline.

Stop-and-frisk was a popular tactic for much of the last 15 years in New York City. But even as it's fallen out of favor under the administration of Mayor de Blasio, the murder rate remains a long way off from where it was in the 1990s, when it topped 2,000 a year. City police department statistics show there were 352 murders and non-negligent homicides in 2015, compared with 673 in 2000 and 539 in 2005.

The NYPD weighed in on stop-and-frisk during the debate and said stops are down 97 percent since 2011. As stops declined, so did crime, which disputes Trump's claim. 

De Blaiso, a Democrat who supports Hillary Clinton, has sharply criticized Trump's call for expanded use of stop-and-frisk, a police tactic that a federal judge has ruled can be discriminatory against minorities.

Last week, de Blasio called Trump's proposal "appalling" and suggested that "he's either ignorant about the history of the city or he's lying about it."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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