Racial Disparity in Arrests

The Story

New York’s city council held an oversight hearing recently on the alleged racial disparity in arrests for smoking marijuana. Most of the people charged are black and Latino, which officials and advocates believe is a sign of racist policing. But a closer examination of crime statistics in New York City demonstrates that marijuana arrests are, as the NYPD maintains, driven by complaints and not by race.

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Race and Crime: 85% of pot arrests are among blacks and Latinos, who comprise 51% of the population, but that same disparity exists across the spectrum of crimes in New York City. Read more.

  2. Place and Crime: The neighborhoods where minor crimes are committed tend to be the same places where major crime occurs. Read more.

  3. Stop Crime: Enforcing low-level offenses remains an effective means of apprehending more serious criminals. Read more.

“The reflexive charge of racism is an excuse to continue ignoring high crime and victimization rates in inner-city neighborhoods.”

Heather Mac Donald, Manhattan Institute Thomas W. Smith fellow

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

Reclaiming Our Public Spaces By Fred Siegel (Spring 1992)

“Public space is both the glory and shame of New York. New Yorkers glory in the liveliness of our sidewalks and plazas, the vitality that sets us apart from other big cities where reliance on the automobile has reduced the streets to a mere means of getting about. Our shame is that we’ve allowed fear and filth to subvert one of our most important assets.”

And in other news...

“A day after Mayor de Blasio called for a ban on plastic shopping bags in New York, a spokesman for Cuomo revealed Monday that the governor is considering such a step.”