Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing and Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests in New York City, 1989-2000

  title={Reefer Madness: Broken Windows Policing and Misdemeanor Marijuana Arrests in New York City, 1989-2000},
  author={Bernard E. Harcourt and Jens Ludwig},
  journal={Criminology eJournal},
The pattern of misdemeanor marijuana arrests in New York City since the introduction of "broken windows" policing in 1994 is remarkable. By the year 2000, arrests on misdemeanor charges of smoking marijuana in public view (MPV) had reached 51,267 for the city, up 2,670 percent from 1,851 arrests in 1994. In 2000, misdemeanor MPV arrests accounted for 15 percent of all felony and misdemeanor arrests in New York City and 92 percent of total marijuana-related arrests in the State of New York. In… 

Pot as Pretext: Marijuana, Race, and the New Disorder in New York City Street Policing

Although possession of small quantities of marijuana has been decriminalized in New York State since the late 1970s, arrests for marijuana possession in New York City have increased more than tenfold

Street Stops and Broken Windows Revisited: The Demography and Logic of Proactive Policing in a Safe and Changing City

The contributions of order-maintenance policing and broken windows theory to New York City’s remarkable crime decline have been the subject of contentious debate. The dominant policing tactic in New

The Effects of Local Police Surges on Crime and Arrests in New York City

The findings suggest that saturating high crime blocks with police helped reduce crime in New York City, but that the bulk of the investigative stops did not play an important role in the crime reductions.

Race and Selective Enforcement in Public Housing

Drugs, crime, and public housing are closely linked in policy and politics, and their nexus has animated several intensive drug enforcement programs targeted at public housing residents. In New York

From the Asylum to the Prison: Rethinking the Incarceration Revolution. Part II: State Level Analysis

The United States exhibited wildly erratic behavior regarding the institutionalization of persons deemed deviant during the 20 century. During the first half of the century, the country

Drug market disruption and systemic violence: Cannabis markets in Copenhagen

This study aims to examine the association between drug law enforcement and rates of serious violence. A police crackdown on a large and stable cannabis market in Copenhagen disrupted established


The incarceration revolution of the late twentieth century fueled ongoing research on the relationship between rates of incarceration and crime, unemployment, education, and other social indicators.

Spring 5-29-2019 Stop , Question , and Frisk : A Tool of Racial Control in New York City

Broken Windows policing through the utilization of Stop, Question, and Frisk has been widely used by the New York City Police Department (NYPD) since the 1990s, as guaranteed by landmark Supreme

Street Stops and Police Legitimacy in New York

Police-initiated citizen encounters in American cities often are non-neutral events. Encounters range from routine traffic stops to police interdiction of pedestrians during their everyday movements




In light of the disparities, it is recommended that the NYPD consider scaling back on MPV enforcement and reducing the harshness of treatment by routinely issuing Desk Appearance Tickets when the person is not wanted on other charges, so that most MPV arrestees would not be detained.

Broken Windows: New Evidence from New York City and a Five-City Social Experiment

In 1982, James Q. Wilson and George Kelling suggested in an influential article in the Atlantic Monthly that targeting minor disorder could help reduce more serious crime. More than 20 years later,

Understanding Why Crime Fell in the 1990s: Four Factors that Explain the Decline and Six that Do Not

Crime fell sharply in the United States in the 1990s, in all categories of crime and all parts of the nation. Homicide rates plunged 43 percent from the peak in 1991 to 2001, reaching the lowest

Attention Felons: Evaluating Project Safe Neighborhoods in Chicago

This research uses a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the impact of Project Safe Neighborhood (PSN) initiatives on neighborhood level crime rates in Chicago. Four interventions are analyzed: (1)

Muslim Profiles Post-9/11: Is Racial Profiling an Effective Counterterrorist Measure and Does it Violate the Right to be Free from Discrimination?

Racial profiling as a defensive counterterrorism measure necessarily implicates a rights trade-off: if effective, racial profiling limits the right of young Muslim men to be free from discrimination

Policing Crime Guns

Between 1985 and 1991 the homicide rate in the United 'States increased by nearly 25 percent, from 7.9 to 9.8 per 100,000 residents. Almost all of this increase was accounted for by additional gun

Evaluating Gun Policy

Edited by Jens Ludwig and Philip J Cook. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press, 2003. The United States has a big problem with gun injuries: it suffers tens of thousands of gun related deaths

Rethinking Racial Profiling: A Critique of the Economics, Civil Liberties, and Constitutional Literature, and of Criminal Profiling More Generally

New data on highway stops and searches from across the country have spawned renewed debate over racial profiling on the roads. The new data reveal consistently disproportionate searches of minority

How the Law Responds to Self-Help

Legal rules are typically implemented through a combination of public and private mechanisms. Burglars, for example, are deterred from unauthorized entry in part by the threat of jail time and police

Administrative Law Goes to War

What are the President's war-making powers? This essay, a brief reply to an article by Curtis Bradley and Jack Goldsmith, contends that the answer lies in administrative law, at least in the first