In this article, the author Ron Bacigal discusses the editorials, The Shame of New York by Bob Herbert and Fighting Crime Where the Criminals Are by Heather MacDonald. These editorials were prompted by the New York City Police Department's release of figures regarding "stop and frisk" incidents within New York City.' MacDonald and Herbert reacted to the same statistical report by putting two very different spins on the raw data. While it's always helpful to compile empirical evidence, Bacigal suggests that we also need to look beyond the mere numbers. If you put aside anecdotal versions of encounters between minorities and police, the numbers themselves don't reveal what those encounters actually looked like. One way to get beyond the cold statistics is to focus on the kind of specific facts that are becoming more readily available in our technologically advancing society.
Ron Bacigal, A Brave New World of Stop and Frisk,18 Wash. & Lee J. Civ. Rts. & Soc. Just. 83 (2011-2012).