NEW YORK (AP) – Police stopped more than 500,000 people on city streets last year – more than five times as many as they did just four years before, a newspaper reported.

New statistics also show a near doubling in the average number of arrests resulting from such stops, The New York Times reported Saturday.

The 2006 statistics were delivered Friday to City Council offices, marking the first time the first time police released a full year’s worth of data since 2002, the newspaper said.

The numbers shed light on what are known as “stop-and-frisks,” which have been closely scrutinized in recent years.

Questions of racial profiling in such stops arose after the deadly 1999 police shooting of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed man who was black. State and federal studies subsequently said there were racial disparities in such stops.

The new statistics show that 55 percent of the people stopped last year were black, and more than 30 percent were Hispanic.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told City Council members Jan. 24 that racial profiling was not at work in street stops.

“Officers are stopping those they reasonably suspect of committing a crime, based on descriptions and circumstances,” Kelly said, “and not on personal bias.”

Noel Leader, a recently retired officer and co-founder of the group 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, challenged that assertion.

“The overwhelming majority of these stops are police initiated,” he said Saturday. “The New York Police Department is committing racial profiling.”

Police Department spokesman Paul Browne said more than 68 percent of crimes involved suspects described as black by victims or witnesses. He said more than 24 percent of suspected offenders were described as Hispanic.

Officers stopped 508,540 people on New York City streets last year, compared to 97,296 in 2002.

Browne attributed the increase partially to vigorous law enforcement.

“Part of it is taking guns off the street and responding to complaints where we use stop-and-frisk,” he said.

An average of 5,317 arrests resulted from street stops each quarter last year, up from 2,819 in 2002. Summonses related to the stops nearly quintupled to an average of 7,292 a quarter last year, compared to 1,461 in 2002.

AP-ES-02-03-07 1914EST

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