A federal judge in Manhattan ruled on Tuesday that the New York Police Department's practice of stopping people suspected of trespassing outside private buildings in the Bronx was unconstitutional.

The decision appears to be one of the more significant federal rulings to date on the legality of the Police Department's use of stop-and-frisk tactics, which has been credited by the Bloomberg administration for helping lower crime rates in the city.

The case was narrowly focused on police stops in front of the private residential buildings enrolled in the Trespass Affidavit Program in the Bronx. Under that program, which includes several thousand residential buildings, property managers have asked the police to seek out trespassers and arrest them on sight.

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