Police in New York City conducted 575,000 "stops" in 2009. The actual number could be higher--depending on the number of stops the police decided not to record on paper. The 'stop and search' is a legally dubious tactic that persists largely because white, middle-class people are mostly unaffected by it. It is bad enough when the officers are in uniform, but gets worse when the police are in plain clothes and approach people rapidly. The police "target" may have only seconds to determine whether he/she is facing a mugging or a police stop. More here.