NYPD bag check- the flaws (misunderstandings) of random sampling

Photo courtesy of Flickr user ae9941Another NYC oddity. So the NYPD has been doing random bag searches in the subway right at the entrance to the platform. There were plenty of announcements prior to the program starting so people were well aware. The part I forgot about though was that they were random. Seeing the table and the eager cops I approached and opened my bag. This was early in the morning and I wasn’t quite awake. What did wake me up was the cop saying he couldn’t search me because I had to be randomly selected.

Confused and concerned I asked the cop, “so as long as I ask to be searched I won’t be?”

“Thats correct sir.”

Dangerous? Scary? Appropriate sampling techniques? You decide.

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