The NYPD's highly controversial stop-and-frisk initiative is supposed to keep New York City safe by removing weapons from the streets. However, a close examination of 2012 stops by the NYCLU revealed that more people were arrested for marijuana possession than there were guns discovered. Of the 532,911 stops that took place last year, over 5,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession and just 729 guns were recovered.
We don't mean to marginalize the discovery of weapons by any means, but the number hardly pales in comparison to the overwhelming number of marijuana-related arrests.
There's also an obvious racial component to stop-and-frisks. While surveys show that marijuana use is higher among whites compared to Hispanics and African-Americans, they only accounted for about 9 percent of the 26, 225 marijuana-related stops that occurred last year. More than half—61.4 percent, to be exact—involved African-Americans and Hispanics.
It's true that stops dropped by some 22 percent last year and that marijuana-related arrests are on pace to decrease by 20 percent, but neither Mayor Bloomberg nor NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly are backing off.
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