(Christopher Robbins) To hear Mayor Bloomberg and NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly explain it, stop-and-frisk is a messy but invaluable tool used to keep weapons off the street. But an analysis of stops in 2012 confirms that the tactic is vastly more effective at generating marijuana arrests. The NYCLU [PDF] looked at last year's 532,911 stops and found that while the NYPD recovered 729 guns, more than 5,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession. Indeed, marijuana was the top reason to be arrested during a stop in 2012, ahead of trespassing and criminal possession of a weapon.
Surveys have shown that whites use marijuana at higher rates than blacks or Hispanics, yet of the 26,225 marijuana-related stops made in 2012, only 8.7% involved whites—61.4% involved blacks or Hispanics.