The Crime Report: Stop and Fix? How the ‘High-Crime Area’ Defense Has Licensed Bad Policing by James M. Doyle:
Almost 20 years ago, in Illinois v. Wardlow, the Supreme Court endorsed a police stop and frisk.
The Court held that if the police had relied solely on the fact that Sam Wardlow fled the corner when the cops arrived on the scene the search would have been invalid, and the gun the cops seized from Wardlow would have been inadmissible as evidence.
But the police could point to the fact that their search of Wardlow occurred in a “high-crime area.”
That was good enough for the Supreme Court; and, so, it has been good enough for lower courts ever since. “High Crime Area” has become a staple in recipes for police and prosecutors defending against suppression motions.