While stop and frisk can play an important role in the prevention of crime, there are also significant costs, including a deterioration of relationships between community residents and law enforcement, and the reality that stops fall disproportionately on communities of color and, in particular, on the young.
Tangential to the stop and frisk problem is the rising number of arrests for marijuana possession. State law makes “open view” possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana a misdemeanor, while possession of the same amount of marijuana in the home is a violation—a non-criminal offense punishable by a fine. Police arrest 100 times more people for this offense and these arrests comprise the single largest category of arrests in New York City, accounting for 15 percent of all NYC arrests and 20 percent of NYC misdemeanors. The effects of those arrests fall almost entirely on Black and Hispanic individuals—82 percent—and largely on the young: 52 percent are under 25 and 69 percent are under 30. The Governor announced plans to bring parity to the law and decriminalize public view with 15 grams or less.