The crime of having a little bit of weed was was all the rage in New York City last year, according to the AP. In 2010 there 50,377 arrests for "criminal possession of marijuana in the 5th degree" citywide, "up from 46,492 in 2009 according to statistics from the state Division of Criminal Justice Services," the AP reports. At 616 arrests per 100,000 people, that's the most commonly committed crime in New York City, "accounting for about one of every seven cases that turn up in criminal courts." So are New York's cops now targeting stoners because there's no violent crime in the city? No: "After leading a long decline in crime rates, the city saw increases in all four types of violent lawbreaking — murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault — including a nearly 14 percent rise in murders," The New York Times reported last May. You see, pot-related arrests have increased because the NYPD wants to curb that violent crimes increase: the marijuana-arrests "deluge has been driven in part by the New York Police Department's strategy of stopping people and frisking those whom police say meet crime suspects' descriptions"--a policy meant to take guns off the street, the AP says.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.