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NYPD Stop And Frisks Still On The Rise In 2012

05/12/12 11:35 PM ET AP

Nypd Stop And Frisk
Courtney Bennett, left, and George Lucas, stand at Adam Clayton Blvd. and 148th Street in Harlem, New York, Friday Sept. 4, 2009. It's a location where Lucas has been stopped by police, a policing tactic both men have experienced on multiple occasions. Nationwide, more than a million people _ mostly black and Hispanic men _ are stopped, questioned and frisked annually by police. Nearly all are innocent of any crime, according to figures from departments around the country. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matth

NEW YORK — The latest numbers show the New York Police Department's skyrocketing street stops increased to more than 200,000 stops during the first three months of 2012.

The NYPD says officers stopped people on New York City's streets 203,500 times from January through March. That's up from 183,326 during the same quarter last year.

The policy allows an officer to stop a person based on reasonable suspicion, which is lower than that of probable cause needed to justify an arrest.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the practice has gotten guns off the streets and saved lives. The city's number of murders is expected to be a record low of less than 500 this year.

Critics say the police department is unfairly targeting minorities.

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Filed by Christopher Mathias  |