There may be fewer cops on the force, but productivity is on the rise at the NYPD, if by productivity you mean busting citizens for trivial crimes like having an open container or having a little grass. The stop and frisk tactic that's the key component of Operation Impact—which floods high-crime communities with rookie cops—may not have yielded many handguns, but it's been a huge boon for pot possession busts and open container summonses.
Last year, there were 46,491 arrests for fifth-degree marijuana possession, according to documents obtained by the Daily News from the Division of Criminal Justice Services. That's up from 40,387 in 2008. And the No. 1 summons last year was written for people violating the open-container law; 132,225 were issued, almost a fourth of all NYPD tickets. This was followed by disorderly conduct, motor vehicle violations and riding bikes on the sidewalk, which resulted in 21,136 summonses.
The 73rd Precinct, which covers Brownsville in Brooklyn, had one of the highest concentration of pot arrests: 3,036. That's also where Operation Impact has prompted thousands of stop and frisks; according to a recent report in the Times cops stopped and frisked 52,000 people in the neighborhood over the past four years, recovering just 25 guns. Brownsville resident Natalie Robinson tells the News, "The police are taking this too far. Everyone knows that poor blacks and Latinos are going to be affected by the police in the worst way."