The controversial “stop, question and frisk” practices used by the New York City Police Department have been the subject of numerous statistics. Various reports, speeches and news stories have focused on specific percentages: 53 percent of the people stopped by the NYPD in 2012 were black, 89 percent were innocent, 0.5 percent resulted in an arrest. But it’s hard to understand the whole picture from these numbers.
A new interactive visualization of all the data related to stop-and-frisk policing in 2012 does a great job of providing additional understanding. Thomas Rhiel of the independent news site BKLYNR came up with an interesting way to explore the issue called “All the Stops.” This visualization, which reflects the more than 530,000 stops that occurred in 2012, reveals who is being stopped, why they’re being stopped, and what, if anything, is being found by the police as a result.
The visualization lays out the data graphically, with each category as a group of dots (each representing 1,000 stops), as opposed to listing particular numbers or lining up a bunch of pie charts. This approach seems to make things more clear. Try it yourself.